“I wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance otherwise.”

Sacha Bliese in her studio

Sacha Bliese

Sacha was a military officer’s wife for 15 years. She operated a small art business making metal jewelry on the side, but the frequent moves every few years made building and sustaining a viable business difficult.

When Sacha and her husband divorced, she struggled to rebuild a new life for herself, finding a job and earning a modest living. “Being a single woman again, life is different,” said Sacha.

Last year she was laid off from her job, and lost her health insurance.

Sacha shared many of the same concerns as others about living without coverage: How am I going to afford health insurance? What if I get injured? Could I afford the medical bills?

Enjoying activities such as bicycling were overshadowed by the prospect of a costly trip to the emergency room if she ever hurt herself.

But what worried Sacha most was being unable to get routine exams at a dermatologist.

“In April 2015 I had a mole removed,” recalls Sacha. Tests of the mole revealed early indications of melanoma. “[The doctor] ended up calling me back and said … you have to be checked every year now,” said Sacha.

After researching her options, Sacha enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).

Sacha is grateful that she now can see a general practitioner for women’s health issues, and get regular annual exams. “If you’re not able to pay for health insurance, there are other things that you’re doing without,” said Sacha.

Thanks to Apple Health, Sacha also is free to focus on rebuilding her art business and her life. She is now a full-time working metal artist and jeweler with a studio in Bellingham. Her ultimate goal is to be able to pay for her own health insurance. “To have that comfort, to have that [money] to put back in the budget will mean that I’m in a good place again,” she said. “I’m just really grateful. I’ve had excellent care.”

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