MEDFORD—Like many Americans, Phoenix resident Aryn Duncan divides her life into before the recession and after the Affordable Care Act. In 2008, she was a successful kitchen and bath designer. Happy and healthy, she easily toted heavy tile and stone samples to her clients’ homes and rode 100-mile bike rides for exercise and pleasure.
As the recession wore on, it became another story.
She remembered, “My business kept decreasing each year as people lost their jobs, their homes and stopped spending.” To help keep her monthly expenses low, she gave up her health insurance.
During the next several years, as Aryn looked for work, walking and other weight-bearing activity aggravated the osteoarthritis in her hip. She was still able to ride her bike, but eventually had to give it up.
“It was a very difficult time,” she recalled. “I was depressed from the constant pain; I needed crutches to get around, I wasn’t able to carry samples or even shop for my clients because of all the walking involved.”
In 2014, the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) expansion gave Aryn a chance to regain her health. Since January, more than 15,000 previously uninsured people in Jackson County have enrolled in OHP.
Aryn was one of the first to sign up. She chose Jackson Care Connect as her Coordinated Care Organization, and selected La Clinica as her primary care medical home.
Aryn’s primary care provider at La Clinica referred her to an orthopedic specialist who recommended hip replacement surgery. “I never thought I would say this, but it was a wonderful experience,” Aryn said. “Everyone, from Jackson Care Connect, to La Clinica, to Southern Oregon Orthopedics, to Providence couldn’t have been better. I was out of the hospital in one day and walking without crutches in five. Debbie from Jackson Care Connect called me soon after my surgery to make sure I had everything I needed.”
“Now, I have no pain, I’m walking, and most importantly, I’m able to work again,” she said. “I’m so grateful. I couldn’t have gotten my life back on track without a wonderful team of health care people and the support of the Oregon Health Plan.”
This Memorial Day is especially memorable for Aryn. It is the day she is cleared to get back on her bike.