Access to health care allows student to pursue education stress-free

Lisa Nguyen in front of a University of Washington campus building

Lisa Nguyen

Sitting in her dorm room at the University of Washington, Lisa Nguyen coughed too hard. She felt sharp, shooting pains in the left side of her chest and had difficulty breathing. She had punctured her lung, which then collapsed.

Lisa went to Swedish Medical Center, where a procedure to remove the air helped her lung recover. She was warned by the doctor that surgery may be the next step.

A couple months later, it happened again. This time Lisa required surgery, including an eight-day stay at the hospital, medications, and many follow up appointments.

Five months before her surgery, Lisa had applied for Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) when she transitioned off her mother’s health insurance at the age of 19. Without Apple Health, Lisa may have had to pay upward of $20,000 for her surgery and ongoing recovery.

“Apple Health covered all of it,” she said. “It was a massive relief, especially during my first quarter in college. I couldn’t imagine the stress I would be under with huge hospital bills.”

Lisa came to UW through a NASA engineering scholarship. She’s studying medical anthropology and global health, similar to public health, with a focus on designing health care delivery systems in low resource settings in different countries all around the world.

“I think it’s absolutely important for everybody to have health care – and not just for emergencies. My access to health care coverage, allows me to be a happy and healthy person, be who I want to be, and maximize my productivity.”  

Because of Apple Health, Lisa can go on to do great things in the world: getting health care to those who need it most.

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