The Value of an EAP to A Small Employer


Two people grabbing each others' wrists. AUI logo top left.


What is an EAP?

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. They address broad and complex issues relating to mental and emotional health. These issues include alcohol and substance abuse, family issues, grief, and stress.

EAPs can also address psychological disorders. EAP counselors work alongside managers and supervisors. These counselors address both employee and organizational needs and issues. There are a lot of EAPs active today. They help businesses prevent and work through violence in the workplace. They also help them work through and prevent trauma and emergency response situations.

Mental health benefits and access are different and separate from traditional benefits. EAPs offer ON-Demand care for employees on a deeper level. This process occurs through on call counselors and referrals. They offer many different services as well. These can include legal help, adoption help, elder care, and health programs. Employers usually pay for EAPs. The services provided often are available to employees’ immediate family as well.

Why are They Important?

Personal problems can and do effect employees work performance. Poor work performance can affect not only those employees, but also your business. Personal problems can hurt productivity, which can increase business costs. Family problems, co-worker tension, depression, stress, and legal issues are examples of this. Since these examples aren’t health related, our health care system may not handle them.

This is why EAPs are so important. They’re a tool that can help reduce these issues in a cost-effective way. EAPs help employers reduce absenteeism, workers’ compensation claims, health care costs, accidents, and grievances. They address safety and security issues, improve employee productivity and engagement, and reduce costs. It’s important as employers that your employees are able to work to their full potential. It’s important that your employees are healthy, happy, and safe. EAPs help your employees cope with issues that stand in the way of this. They’re available so employees can reach their full potential and work their best.

Healthcare coverage is one of the most expensive employee benefits employers can offer. EAPs help manage this cost. The support and resources provided make employees healthier. Both mental and physical health can increase, which can decrease health care claims. This will help save money in the long run. Many employees and applicants want a variety of benefits. An EAP is one way a small business can remain competitive for hiring and keeping talent.

What Does It Cost?

Hand writing on a chalkboard. Words to the left are "Work, Career, and Business." Words to the right are "Life, Family, and Health." AUI logo top right.

EAPs can come at an affordable cost to employers. This is true especially when added to an existing employee benefits package. While prices differ based on services and providers, EAP add-ons cost between 75 cents and $2. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, this is per month, per member. Exact pricing will depend on the number of employees covered. It will also depend on offered services and the frequency of use.

More than anything, prices depend on who you choose to be your EAP provider. External EAPs have fixed-fee pricing. Employers pay fixed rates for employees monthly. This price gets multiplied by the total number of employees each year. Pricing depends on the service package you select as an employer. Employers may also be able to engage in an EAP fee-for-service contract. This method is available for EAP add-on services. These can include substance use professional evaluations, mental health debriefings, and crisis intervention.

Getting EAP services through a small-business EAP consortium is another option. Pricing depends on services available through the consortium. The total number of employees in the consortium lowers individual costs.

What Are Your Options?

Employers have many options when finding and sourcing an EAP program. They can choose to keep it in-house, or they can outsource every aspect of EAP service. These are the most common EAP delivery models:

  • Management-sponsored EAPs- These are in-house programs. The organization employs the EAP staff.
  • Fixed-fee contracts- Employers contract for various services. These include counseling, referrals, and supervisory training. The fees depend on the number of employees. This is regardless of their actual EAP use.
  • Fee-for-service contracts- Employers contract with the EAP provider. They pay only when employees use the services.
  • Consortia- Small businesses join together to contract for EAP services. This lowers the cost per employee.
  • Member assistance programs- They’re provided by unions. MAPs offer services like prevention and problem identification, and referral and counseling activities. These services are for employees and their family members.
  • Peer assistance programs- They’re sponsored by employers or unions. PAMs train peers to work with troubled employees. They address problems like substance misuse within predetermined rules and limits.
  • Mixed-model programs- Employers and unions with many worksites use these. These worksites have different needs and resources.

To Conclude

Folder sitting on a surface with the "EAP" on it. AUI logo top left.

Not every EAP will be right for every organization. Be clear about what you desire and want to pay. Discuss your budget. Ask about payment plans. Be clear on what your needs are. It’s okay to approach other EAPs for bids to see if they match your needs and budget better. Be sure to provide prospective EAPs with information about your health benefits structure, your drug-free workplace policy, and a description of the service that you want the EAP program to provide. Share characteristics of your workplace and employees, such as worksites, job categories, and the numbers and demographics of employees, supervisors, and covered family members. Let us help you determine the best plan of action for you and your employees. We’re committed to your best interests as a small business owner. We have the expertise to help you make choices that align with your business. We’re here to meet the needs of both you and your employees. We’re here to show you your options and guide you through the tough decisions.

Contact us today to learn more about EAP options for your small business!

We do more than cover small businesses and individuals with the right insurance policies and benefit plans – what motivates our team is helping you save more so you can invest more in your team, family, and goals.

Recent Articles

Sign Up for Our Newsletter!

Never miss an update from AUI – sign up for our newsletter today for the latest from our team and industry!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Request a
Personalized Quote

Tell us a little about your insurance needs, then we will contact you for a quick conversation about what you do, what you love, and how we can help!