Company Realizes Return on Investment in Reduced Medical Costs and Employee Absenteeism
A study of Working Well Moms, Cigna's (NYSE: CI) corporate lactation program for employees who breastfeed, revealed a savings of $240 thousand annually in health care expenses for breastfeeding mothers and their children. In addition, a savings of $60 thousand annually is realized through reduced absenteeism among breastfeeding mothers at Cigna. The study also found that pharmacy costs for breastfed children are lower, because they require 62 percent fewer prescriptions.
The study, conducted by the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, evaluated the effectiveness of the Cigna program in reducing healthcare costs, maternal absenteeism and infant illness; and in increasing breastfeeding duration rates.
Breastfeeding duration for women enrolled in the Working Well Moms program is 72.5 percent at six months compared to a 21.1 percent national average of employed new mothers. The program also exceeds Healthy People 2010 six-month objectives by 45 percent. Healthy People 2010 are health goals issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At one year, 36 percent of women enrolled in Working Well Moms are still breastfeeding, compared to a 10.1 percent national average of employed new mothers. The Healthy People 2010 one-year goal is 25 percent.
"An additional finding of the study is that Working Well Moms is successful in removing important barriers that impact the decision to breastfeed and continue breastfeeding," said Catherine Hawkes, assistant vice president of Employee Health at Cigna.
"Traditionally, education and socioeconomic status are strong predicators for initiation and duration of breastfeeding. The UCLA study results suggest that Working Well Moms is effective in eliminating these barriers among women of all job levels at Cigna.
"Working Well Moms makes sense at Cigna because nearly 80 percent of our 38,000-employee population are women, with an average age of 35," Hawkes added. "With the cost savings, this program has a clear business benefit while also benefiting our employees. We feel that the program will continue to grow and reflect positively on our commitment to employee well-being."
The one-year study involved 343 women who were divided into three groups: 182 were enrolled in Working Well Moms, 101 breastfed their children, but were not enrolled in Working Well Moms and 60 fed their babies with formula.
Working Well Moms was created in 1995 when Cigna employees asked for assistance in continuing to breastfeed after returning from maternity leave. To date, more than 1,000 women have enrolled. Currently, the program is available at more than 250 Cigna offices. Last month, Working Well Moms was cited as a Workplace Model of Excellence by the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.
The program provides mothers consultation with a professional lactation consultant before and after they give birth, access to a private room and a hospital grade breast pump, refrigeration, a carry case and all the supplies that are needed.
Cigna Corporation's subsidiaries are leading providers of employee benefits in the United States. Their products and services include managed and indemnity health care coverage; group life, accident and disability insurance; retirement services; and investment management. They also offer life insurance and employee benefits in selected international markets. As of March 31, 2000, Cigna Corporation had consolidated assets of $97 billion and shareholders' equity of $5.8 billion. Full-year 1999 revenues from continuing operations totaled $18.8 billion.SOURCE: Cigna Corporation
Contact: Chris Collom of Cigna, 215-761-8421 or firstname.lastname@example.org