EAPs and Mental Health

I’ve started a series answering questions on the cost of mental health. I firmly and passionately believe that every single person has a right to mental health care that fits their individual needs and is affordable, AND ALSO therapists and other mental health professionals deserve to be paid appropriately for their time. I spoke before about how health insurance works when you are seeing a therapist, and I’d like to explore some other options people can use to access mental health care. Today I am going to speak to Employee Assistant Programs.

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EAPs are programs through your employer that will cover a limited number of therapy sessions or other mental health services. If you have a high-deductible insurance plan, you might be able to get a few sessions at no cost to you through your employer’s EAP.

There are huge benefits to using your EAP:

  1. It’s free. Who doesn’t like free?
  2. Your sessions aren’t billed through insurance, so if you are given a diagnosis, your insurance will not see it.
  3. The EAP provider can help you connect with someone who has availability.
  4. You know going in how many sessions you get and do not have to worry about authorization or getting a surprise bill.

Of course, there are also drawbacks:

  1. Because you get a set number of sessions, EAPs can be useful for solution-focused work or working through adjustment issues or stress. But if you need more long-term care, they run out quickly.
  2. If you decide to continue sessions after your EAP runs out, your EAP-approved therapist might not be covered by your insurance, so you might have to switch therapists or pay out of pocket.
  3. EAPs offer notoriously low reimbursement rates, so many therapists will not accept them.

It is worth asking if your employer offers this service, as this can help people with high-deductible insurance plans get their foot in the door with mental health services.

What else do you wish you knew about the cost of mental health services? Ask me and I will try to find the answer!

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. She completed her internship at the National Psychology Training Consortium with specializations in assessment and rural mental health. Currently, she specializes in trauma-informed and neurodiversity-affirming care, and she is certified in telemental health. Dr. Marschall runs a private practice, RMH Therapy, where she provides individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments across the lifespan. Dr. Amy Marschall is an author and professional speaker.