Got a nasty cold but no job and no health insurance? You may be able to get free care through the in-store clinics at Walgreens drugstores.

The company announced Tuesday that they would provide tests and routine treatment for minor ailments free-of-charge through their Take Care clinics to anyone who can provide proof that they’ve recently lost their job and health insurance. Spouses and children are also eligible if they don’t have insurance of their own. The program is slated to run through the end of 2009.

“We’re really excited to offer the program,” says Gabe Weissman, a spokesman for Take Care Health Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreen Co.

The drugstore operator runs 341 clinics in 35 markets around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Cleveland.

Quest Diagnostics, a laboratory testing company, is also participating in the program by offering free tests for strep throat and urinary tract infections.

“It’s wonderful,” says David Knowlton, a board member of the Health Well Foundation, non-profit organization that helps people who are underinsured pay for their out-of-pocket medical expenses. “We’re facing a tsunami of uninsured and underinsured. Thank God someone is stepping up to the plate.”

But Knowlton says the new program will only help a small portion of people who are finding themselves unable to get the kind of health care they need.

“What is it going to do for a patient with rheumatoid arthritis? Not a lot,” he says. “They need a medical home. This isn’t continuity of care.”

But for taking care of a painful sore throat or itchy pink eye, the Take Care program may offer much needed help at just the right time.

“It’s not perfect,” Knowlton says, “But it’s better than nothing, a lot better than nothing.”

To find out more about the services offered and what it takes to qualify, call 1-866-Take-Care (1-866-825-3227) and press 3 for Take Care Recovery Plan information.