When Drew signed up for health insurance a few years ago through the Affordable Care Act, it was the first time the 58-year-old had coverage since he was a kid. “Signing up is what made me start taking care of myself,” he said, still recovering from many years battling drug use and dependency. He credits Belinda Wright, financial counselor at Providence Alaska Medical Center, for helping him get back on track.
Later on, Belinda came to his aid once again when a work-related injury and health issues forced the masonry contractor to seek early retirement, causing him to lose medical coverage. She helped him apply for Medicaid, get into a behavioral health program, and even find new housing. “She is amazing,” says Drew. “She eased my nerves immediately and walked me through the process,” he says.
He knows that losing Medicaid would take away his medical care and all the progress he’s made to date.
Belinda has personally seen the benefits of Medicaid and how it has helped the people she serves. Patients are finally able to get their eyes and hearing checked, and get a full physical checkup to find out if they have health issues. “When people come to us, they feel defeated. They’re tired, they don’t understand the paperwork. We can give them that added confidence that they can do this,” she says.
These days, Drew spends his time helping people struggling with addictions to get their second chance at life. He also recently completed his high school diploma and is now working to start a business selling his own handmade fishing lures. “I was in a bad place but was able to pull myself up,” says Drew. “I wouldn’t be functioning right now if it weren’t for Medicaid, and good folks like Belinda.”