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.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

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. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

%d bloggers like this: