Medicaid Matters: Tress's story

Medicaid gave me new hope, new tools for diabetes

When Tress was unemployed and looking for work, she worried about how to find a job and make ends meet. One thing she didn’t have to worry about was her health care.

The 45-year-old social media expert was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2005, and during part of her unemployment period she was covered by Oregon’s version of Medicaid – called the Oregon Health Plan. She says that the 18 months she was on Oregon Health Plan gave her new hope and new tools to get her diabetes under control.

“Prior to getting on OHP, my A1C – which is a three-month average of your blood glucose level – was at 13 percent. Normal is between 5 and 7 percent. So I had a lot of work to do,” remembers Tress. “I didn’t realize how far out of control my diabetes had gotten. Having access to the proper medicine and a care team made such a positive impact on my life. I felt better, I started losing weight and my overall well-being was much improved.”

Because her OHP provider referred Tress to an endocrinologist as part of the care team, she received the diabetes education she’d never had before. She even got special help to inject herself with insulin – a major achievement because she has a severe needle phobia. 

“I got some of the best treatment of my life on OHP,” she says, adding that during that time she got her A1C level close to normal at 8.7 percent.

Today, Tress is employed, continues to manage her diabetes and no longer receives her care from Oregon Health Plan. “As a society, we need to change the idea that it’s shameful to ask for help,” she says. “Everyone needs help sometimes, and that includes having quality care and good health." 

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