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The Myth of Free EAP


The sad truth is many companies offering “free” EAP services don’t actually provide counseling. These call centers and insurance companies simply purchase into a database of counselors-for-hire. These companies don’t know the counselors they’re using, and they certainly don’t know you or your employees. The person answering the phone is not necessarily a licensed therapist. Because these insurance companies get billed by the counselor for each session, the incentive is to NOT have employees call (hence the 3-session model). That is not a benefit.


Health care providers sometimes offer discounted EAP services. The hidden incentive is to convert clients to their longer-term care services for which they can bill insurance and end up costing you and your employees money. While the care can be good, EAP/mental health is not their main focus – it’s an add-on to their other services. Additionally, the counseling record can become part of an individual’s insurance record. And since these services are often provided through their behavioral health centers, which treat all types of mental illness, you become a patient, not a client.