Nancy's Story: Help for Chronic Pain Thanks to Medicaid


When Nancy fell 40 feet down a flight of stairs at work nearly two decades ago, she was thankful for her health insurance. That coverage helped pay for her many surgeries and long recovery – which included plates and screws in her arms and leg, fused bones in her foot and management of her chronic pain.

After an accident 20 years ago, Nancy says
Medicaid has been a lifesaver.

Later on, Nancy no longer had health insurance through her work, and she had to find another solution to keep herself healthy. Her daughter helped take care of her for several years.

Nancy enrolled in Medicare and then a few years later she enrolled in Medicaid. These government programs have been a lifesaver for Nancy, although she grew concerned about the amount of medication she was taking for her chronic pain. She wanted to reduce her pain with fewer medications, and she also wanted to get her diabetes under better control.

In 2016, Nancy joined Providence ElderPlace and today, at age 75, lives in a residential care community in Portland, Ore. Medicaid and Medicare pay for her care, which includes getting her diabetes under control, receiving acupuncture to help with pain and mobility issues, and taking steps to reduce her reliance on pain medications. With oversight from ElderPlace clinicians, she has made great strides in achieving those goals and improving her quality of life – something she couldn’t have done without support from Medicaid and Medicare.

Asked what would happen to her if she lost her insurance, Nancy looks up and says firmly, “I would be out on the streets.”

-- Story thanks to Providence Health