CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Lactation Network (TLN), the largest national provider of insurance-covered lactation care delivered by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), today launches The Close the Lactation Coverage Gap initiative, a campaign to educate and advocate for a future of lactation care for all families. Insurance-covered lactation care is legally mandated by the Affordable Care Act, yet parents are regularly denied this critical care and are struggling to feed their babies. The initiative is designed to be the catalyst families need to get the care they deserve.
“At TLN, we know how life-changing lactation care is during a nuanced, vulnerable and deeply personal time for many families,” said Sarah Kellogg Neff, CEO of TLN. “That’s why we are working to create a future where everyone has access to this care. Families deserve fully insurance-covered care for the duration of the breastfeeding journey, delivered by an IBCLC with care that's personalized to their needs. We also aim to increase societal and legislative recognition of lactation care as a life-saving component of healthcare for families. By amplifying our collective voice, we can make this a reality.”
According to TLN’s 2023 Breastfeeding Sentiment Snapshot, the majority of parents say that if their insurance provided any, or additional, coverage for lactation support, they would have been able to breastfeed longer. And breastfeeding has a wide impact on their lives: making them feel empowered, giving them peace of mind, and helping them feel connected to their babies, all of which are especially critical given the current maternal mortality crisis the United States is facing. However, health plans don’t cover lactation care appropriately or equitably, and employers aren’t always aware of coverage inadequacy in their employee benefits plans. Despite claiming to provide lactation care, coverage is often limited to a brief, in-hospital post-delivery visit but not postpartum, outpatient care, when the majority of breastfeeding issues arise and families are most in need of support.
“This coverage gap turns lactation care into a luxury for those who can afford it rather than what it is: life-changing and life-saving healthcare,” said Kellogg Neff. “When parents don’t get the care they need, this deprivation impacts their physical and mental health, as well as their family, friends, colleagues and communities. However, together, we can spark change.”
This August, Breastfeeding Awareness Month, TLN launches a website, where families, allies and employers will follow an immersive journey that shows how inadequate current coverage is and demonstrates the benefits of fully covered care. This culminates in asking them to take action. For families and allies, TLN encourages them to sign a petition that TLN will use as a part of advocacy initiatives and email their employer with a pre-written template to check their workplace lactation coverage.
Employers can take a coverage quiz to see if the lactation benefits they offer are as comprehensive as they are legally required to be but also enough to support their employees. According to TLN’s survey, 70% of parents agree that employers don’t do enough to support new families on their breastfeeding journeys and more than 40% of parents resented their employers because they made feeding their baby difficult when returning to work. Comprehensive lactation coverage doesn’t just help employees thrive personally and professionally, it helps companies retain talent and avoid costly losses.
After completing these actions, each audience will receive more information and be invited to download content that can be shared on social media with a corresponding hashtag, #closethelactationgap. In doing so, families and forward-thinking employers can demand more of their insurance providers for coverage of lactation care. To become a lactation advocate, visit closethelactationcoveragegap.com.
TLN is a change agent in women's and maternal health, creating an infrastructure that supports parents for the duration of the breastfeeding journey so they can make the best choices for their families. To learn more about TLN, its unwavering support of lactation care and to inquire about its services, visit https://lactationnetwork.com/.
About The Lactation Network
The Lactation Network (TLN) is a national provider of insurance-covered lactation care delivered by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). They provide lactation support, including breast pump products and lactation consultations to families in need of care. TLN is the largest network of IBCLCs in the United States, and helps them provide the gold-standard of lactation care. TLN is building inclusive, tech-forward healthcare systems designed to remove barriers to access, dismantle stigmas and support all parents so they and their families can thrive. For more information and to access resources, please visit lactationnetwork.com or follow along on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.