Alaska - Medicaid Matters: ZamZam's Story

Medicaid gives me the freedom to get an education

ZamZam is a busy, energetic young mom of four children, and she also cares for her disabled mom. She’s simultaneously studying for two different types of education – her GED and to become a certified nursing assistant. She’s nearly completed her studies.

She has a plan for her life and for her children’s future. Medicaid is helping to make those dreams a reality.

Once she passes her CNA exams, ZamZam, 34, plans to pursue a job with benefits. Her plan is to work the night shift so she can be home for her kids (ages 12, 10, 5 and 2) during the day. Then she’ll take a four-hour nap and start her work shift again. It sounds exhausting, but ZamZam doesn’t mind hard work. She has plans and goals.

“If I hadn’t had Medicaid, I wouldn’t have been able to focus on getting an education and taking care of my kids,” she says. “Instead, I would’ve had to get two jobs to support my family.”

Because the family now has Medicaid coverage, they can go to the doctor and dentist for routine and preventive care – something they didn’t have before. ZamZam and her kids love living in Alaska and spend all their free time exploring, camping, hiking and playing outdoors. Sometimes that results in the usual kid injuries that require medical care.

“My kids love playing in the dirt and with sticks and rocks. We’re an Alaskan wild family,” she says with a laugh. “When they get injured or need to go to the doctor, I don’t have to stress out about how to pay for it.” She says her mom, who has both mental and physical disabilities and lives with the family, also receives her care through Medicaid.

For many years, there was no money to visit a doctor or dentist. Sometimes ZamZam’s children needed to go to the emergency room or to urgent care. It’s a huge relief not to worry about injuries, illness and medical bills. She is grateful that Medicaid will bridge the gap until she gets a job with health benefits.

“Medicaid has a big impact on my future and on my children’s future,” she said. “It gives me the freedom to get an education and have a better life. I couldn’t have done this without Medicaid.”

Medicaid matters.

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