Telelactation support startup SimpliFed now available to Colorado Medicaid enrollees

SimpliFed, a virtual platform for baby feeding services, will now be available to Colorado Medicaid enrollees, the company announced Wednesday. 

Beneficiaries of Colorado’s Medicaid program, Health First Colorado, will be able to access on-demand SimpliFed telelactation support. The startup, founded in 2019, aims to democratize access to a safe environment for infant nutrition education and consultation services. It works both with families during pregnancy and post-birth to help address a range of goals from deciding to wean to transitioning to work. It also helps clients understand their coverage benefits. 

Through the new program, SimpliFed hopes to serve the more than 22,000 new lives covered by Colorado Medicaid every year. Within the state, SimpliFed is also contracted with Rocky Mountain Health Plans and Colorado Access. Nationally, it provides services to the U.S. military’s healthcare program TRICARE. It also has a Medicaid license in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Oregon and Vermont, according to the company. 

“We are deeply honored to serve Health First Colorado beneficiaries and improve access to baby feeding support,” Andrea Ippolito, founder and CEO of SimpliFed, said in a press release. “We are working to democratize this essential, Affordable Care Act-mandated benefit by providing ongoing appointments at no cost to families and ensuring parents are set up for baby feeding success.”

Breastfeeding can reduce risk of illness in children and mothers, and provide long-term health benefits for the mother and child. National dietary guidelines recommend babies be breastfed, but rates vary across the country due to social determinants. For instance, infants in rural areas are less likely to ever breastfeed than those in urban areas. Disparities in breastfeeding rates also exist among different races, primarily affecting Black infants

“It is paramount to have inclusive, non-judgmental baby feeding options whether parents are formula feeding, breast/chest feeding, or utilizing donor milk,” Ippolito said in an interview. “And for those that choose to breastfeed, more needs to be done to meet them where they are, in order to realize the public health benefits aligned with breastfeeding for everyone who can, and tackle hunger, nutrition and health goals.” 

Under the Affordable Care Act preventive services requirement, states must cover consultation services for Medicaid expansion beneficiaries. However, coverage across expansion states ranges widely, a 2021 KFF report found

SimpliFed raised $6 million earlier this year in a seed round. Support is provided through its platform by baby feeding experts from 8 am to 9 pm Eastern every day, but will be 24/7 starting this fall, the company told Fierce Healthcare.