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UCLA Study of CIGNA Corporate Lactation Program Proves that Helping Working Moms Breastfeed Is Good Business

Submitted by: Cigna Corporation

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1

Posted: Jun 15, 2000 – 12:00 AM EST


Company Realizes Return on Investment in Reduced Medical Costs and Employee Absenteeism

Jun. 15 /CSRwire/ - 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
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.

For more information, please contact:

Chris Collom CIGNA
Phone: 215-761-8421

For more from this organization:

Cigna Corporation


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