Benefits Buzz – The Modern EAP

Contributed by Rocky Martin - VP Employee Benefits @ CBIZ

There is an encouraging employee benefit offering trend amongst employers that started in the 1930s to abate occupational alcoholism and has evolved into a robust whole home and family wellbeing support network. You may have heard of it and, as statistics show, perhaps haven’t used one...yet. It’s an Employee Assistance Program, more commonly referred to as an EAP. The modern EAP looks and feels more like a GPS for whatever life throws at you. To serve the needs of its members, most EAPs have contracted with expert resources in the fields of mental health, legal advice, family and work distress, financial counseling and some programs even offer advanced planning services such as, will preparation and estate planning.

EAPs offer a confidential intake assessment by trained advocates to navigate your care to the right professionals, within your region and personal preference. While most employer sponsored EAPs will offer 3 to 5 no-cost face-to-face visits with a healthcare, legal or financial professional, the convenience and sustainability of virtual consultations have taken precedence since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. While virtual care may seem to lack a certain touch in the quest for personalized advocacy, it has made these resources more accessible and private than in years past. These communications advancements in technology for individuals and families that seek expert advice has allowed this service to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands instead of tens of thousands.

I recently had a conversation with a close friend and colleague about their recent separation, who paid thousands out-of-pocket in relationship counseling. I asked if they started with our EAP that offers three (3) face-to-face sessions at no cost through our employer and was not surprised to hear that the answer was no. To the employers that already offer this invaluable service; remind your employees throughout the year that you’re in their corner, to the employees that don’t know where to turn; check to see if you have an EAP and to the employers that don’t have an EAP; you need a new broker.