Eileen Casey

Eileen Casey of South Burlington, Vt, has been named Advocate of the Year by the Amputee Coalition of America, Knoxville, Tenn for demonstrating exceptional dedication to advancing the quality of life for people living with limb loss.

Casey lost a leg to cancer and subsequently learned her employer-paid health insurance would not cover the cost of the prosthetic leg she required.

“I faced having to take out a loan to pay for a prosthetic leg—out of my own pocket—so I could continue to work and live independently,” says Casey, who continues to work in television advertising sales. A prosthetic leg can cost upward of $10,000 and Casey’s employer-paid health insurance only covered a temporary limb.

She rallied support for a state insurance parity bill for prosthetic care that Vermont Gov Jim Douglas signed into law in April. Vermont is one of 11 states to have passed prosthetic parity laws. Some 30 other states are advancing parity legislation.

“Eileen Casey’s outstanding work on behalf of amputees, building support and advancing legislation that requires health insurance companies to cover prosthetic care as they do all other essential medical care is truly exceptional,” says Kendra Calhoun, president and CEO of the Coalition.

On the federal level, bills requiring employer-paid health insurance plans to meaningfully cover prosthetic care were recently introduced with bipartisan sponsorship in the House of Representatives and the Senate.