2014 brings a fresh start for thousands of newly insured

Enrollment starts here

Planning on living healthier in 2014? That’ll be a lot easier if you’re one of the thousands of newly insured King County residents, with medical benefits starting this month.

Gaining access to medical care can mean a fresh start on life — especially for anyone with a chronic illness or injury.

For Christie Martin, an affordable health care plan is life changing. Her health started deteriorating when she lost her job – and with it, her health insurance – in 2008.

Ever since, she has “suffered silently” from reoccuring injuries and severe eye problems that make it difficult to walk, see, and even get out of bed in the morning without taking something for the pain.

“When I stopped health insurance, my body broke down,” she said. “I’m only 44, but sometimes I feel like I’m 74.”

Martin’s back, leg and hip injuries have only escalated without proper treatment. These prevent her from functioning like she once did, she said. She’s also been rushed to the hospital several times due to flareups that left her immobilized, and she is still struggling to pay off the debt from those hospital bills.

But, after enrolling in the expanded Washington Apple Health, through Washington Healthplanfinder, Martin no longer has to live in a constant state of pain and anxiety. When enrollment specialists at WithinReach helped her sign up, she was “happy and overwhelmed” to the point of tears.

For Martin, access to afforable care means she can finally start the road to recovery. She’ll be able to see a doctor, diagnose her injuries and put an end to the chronic pain that now limits even her most basic day-to-day activities.

“This has taken off a burden like you couldn’t imagine,” she said. “[Health insurance] will help me feel better and it will change how I do other things in life. I’m very excited.”

In King County alone, more than 100,000 people — each with a personal story — are either newly insured or in the process of becoming insured this month.

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