The month of May was mental health awareness, and there was an increase in interest in Employee Assistance Programs, not just in Indiana but the entire nation.
What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
An employee benefits program is a benefit a company will provide to their employees to help address personal and work-related issues impacting their lives. The original goal of an EAP program was to help employees cope with stress before it affects their job performance. Today’s EAP program is to help the employee and the entire employee’s household cope with overwhelming personal stress.
Employees are placing more value on EAP because it offers immediate assistance and has no initial cost. Most EAP programs will allow three counseling sessions at no cost to the member. We are also seeing where EAP programs have mental health providers prioritizing seeing members. A member can see a professional in just five days.
Employee Training Through Employee Assistance Programs
EAPs offer management and employee training that supports health, well-being, and engagement goals. Management can also receive guidance on how to manage difficult situations that may occur with employees.
Connecting Community resources:
EAP programs can connect members with community resources, saving a lot of time.
- Adult/Elder Services– Medicare/Medicaid Support, Transportation, Aids to daily living, Legal services
- Parenting Services– Childcare, Special Needs Support, Help for Teens, Pregnancy services, Domestic relocation, Camps.
- Life Learning-Financial assistance, Alternative education, Career consulting.
- Chronic Condition Support Services– Aids to daily living, medical suppliers, Nutrition assistance, self-Care tools, home health care, and assistive technology.
There are multiple options when a company is reviewing EAP vendors. The total employee count does play a factor in what carriers are available. Standalone EAP providers may require 250+ employees to be eligible.
Bundling with current insurance carriers. Most insurance companies offering benefits will have EAP options available to their clients. Typically, a company, no matter the size, can gain access to some level of EAP program through existing relationships. For companies under 250 employees bundling may be your best option.
EAP integrated with Health plan
An integrated EAP with a health plan offers additional benefits because the mental health professional that the EAP recommends can all be network participants. Once the counseling sessions are exhausted through EAP, it can make for an easy transition under the health benefits, thus no disruption in the initial treatment plan.
What to look for in EAP benefits:
- Services not just to the employee but to all members of the household.
- Provide services that are not just for those in crisis.
- Easily accessible through phone, video, and even text.
- Face to Face counseling.
- Benefit for management.
- Health plan integration
- Member communication- It’s essential to have a library of employee communications to promote the EAP services.
- Reporting Capabilities. All EAP services are anonymous, but an employer should have access to utilization.
EAP selection can be an overwhelming process. The good news is the cost of most programs is reasonable. If you would like assistance, we can help you.