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Profile: Adam Turner

Timely intervention prevents financial ruin

Single father Adam Turner lost his company-sponsored health insurance when he changed jobs in 2015. He investigated his options for self insurance but discovered that he couldn't afford the premiums. Fortunately, he found a solution with Project Access Northwest's Premium Assistance program.

“If it weren’t for the good people at Project Access and Swedish Medical Center, I wouldn’t be alive today and my son wouldn’t have his dad.”

—Adam Turner,
Premium Assistance

When 41-year-old Adam Turner suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and collapsed on the streets of Seattle in June 2015, only state-of-the-art, emergency intervention could save his life. But it might have been another type of intervention weeks earlier that made all the difference…

When hair stylist Adam Turner got a new job, he lost his valuable employer-paid health coverage. He responsibly investigated his options, but he soon discovered that while his income was too high to qualify for a Medicaid plan, he really could not afford to cover his new health plan premiums on his own.

He was left with a tough choice. Should he sign up for a health plan he knew he really couldn’t afford? Or should he pay the smaller tax penalty and risk going without insurance?

As someone who had enjoyed good health his whole life, Adam thought he might have to go without coverage. But he also knew that medical bills could put his whole future at risk. As a single father, he worried about how his decision could affect his young son.


A helping hand

Thankfully, one of our program partners recognized that Adam might be a good candidate for Project Access Northwest’s new Premium Assistance Program and made the referral. We successfully enrolled him in a Qualified Health Plan and covered the premiums he couldn’t afford.

“Adam is exactly the kind of patient we are trying to help,” explains Sallie Neillie, executive director (2006–June 2017). “There are many people who fall through the cracks in our new insurance system. They can’t qualify for Medicaid assistance, but they can’t pay for coverage on their own. The result is a segment of the population who just can’t afford the coverage they need.”

According to reports in 2015 from the Washington Health Benefits Exchange:

  • More than 200,000 state residents who are eligible to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan remain uninsured; and
  • Half of residents who did enroll in a plan missed one or more payments during the year.

“This indicates that the premiums are a hardship, and families are having to make choices about how to spend their limited resources,” adds Neillie. “But we know the health care system works better when all patients have adequate insurance.”

…we know the health care system works better when all patients have adequate insurance.

—Sallie Neillie, executive director of Project Access Northwest


Timely intervention prevents financial ruin

Just five weeks after Adam enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan with support from the Premium Assistance Program, he boarded a Seattle bus. Despite a severe headache, he needed to get to work. But suddenly he collapsed with a massive, life-threatening brain hemorrhage. Top-notch emergency care saved Adam’s life, while his newly acquired health insurance protected him and his son from financial ruin. A very grateful Adam is now back to work and raising his son, with no long-term effects from the stroke and no burden of expensive medical bills.


Learn more

To date Project Access Northwest has served 679 people like Adam through the Premium Assistance program and several thousand more through Care Coordination. Please contact us if you’d like to know more.

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