Alaska - Medicaid Matters: Samantha's story

After painful memories, she is back on track

When Samantha’s marriage ended, the 38-year-old not only lost the assets she shared with her husband, but the medical coverage she received through his benefits. 

Samantha relied on his health insurance to get the care she needed to manage her mental health conditions. “Without help, I wouldn’t be able to function,” says the Alaska resident, who has painful memories of what it was like to try and get through each day without treatment. 

Twelve years ago, Samantha was diagnosed with severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress. Unable to afford coverage to help her manage these serious conditions, she struggled and turned to drugs and alcohol. “It was the hardest time of my life,” she recalls. “My whole world was in shambles. Mental illness is no joke.” 

Eventually she got back on her feet and had renewed hope for her life. She married and was thankful to have spousal insurance to cover the medication she needed and to see a behavioral health therapist. Sadly, two years ago her marriage ended, bringing her treatment and progress to a halt. Deeply discouraged, she had no idea that she might qualify for Medicaid. 

Samantha’s situation is all too common, shares Virginia Lang, financial counselor at Providence Alaska Medical Center. “There are many people who can’t afford insurance who are unaware that there are resources available to them,” she says.

Virginia walked Samantha through the process of enrolling in Medicaid. While managing mental illness is a work in progress, Samantha feels fortunate to have the resources that bring some stability to her life so she can move forward.

“I’d be self-medicating and living on the streets today if it weren’t for Medicaid,” says Samantha. But today, she is back on track.

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