Top 3 Hidden Costs of a Free EAP

April 20, 2017      |      Posted on Posted in Benefit Trends
Top 3 Hidden Costs of a Free EAP

Many health plan providers are offering employers “free” Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services as an incentive for renewal. These “free” or embedded plans however, often result in low utilization, limited services and zero account management to ensure the EAP aligns with organizational goals.

While “free” EAP services may seem like a good way to save money on benefits, employers should be wary of hidden fees for services not included in their embedded EAP package. When it comes to EAP benefits, employers get what they pay for.

Here are the top three hidden costs of a “free” EAP:

  1. High Fees for Onsite Services – Most basic embedded EAP packages include telephone access and limited online resources, but no onsite services. Onsite orientations, training and management consultation, as well as face-to-face clinical sessions, are available only at an extra cost (sometimes as much as $350 an hour) to the employer.
  2. Training Costs Including Travel Expenses for Trainers – “Free” EAP training services typically include digital orientations for employees and managers, but no onsite trainings. Onsite training and support services are available only for an additional fee. Employers are also responsible for the travel costs of training providers, costs that would be included in a more comprehensive EAP package.
  3. Critical Incident Response (CIR) – Embedded EAPs typically do not include critical incident response services. In the event of tragedy or disaster, employers must pay out of pocket for crisis management services like Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (CISD), on top of an already stressful situation. Comprehensive EAPs include crisis prevention and critical incident response services to build resilience and return the workplace to normal as soon as possible.

Download the full comparison chart of factors to consider – including access, program promotion and management support – to see which type of EAP program is right for your company. For more information about comprehensive EAP services, and to request a quote for a program to fit any company’s needs and budget, contact ACI Specialty Benefits today at 800.932.0034 or

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