Are you avoiding therapy or counseling because it’s too expensive? Most insurance plans offer some form of free therapy through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that most people don’t know about. I use EAP all the time to work through many issues in my life whether large or small.
Every year you can request 5 or more free therapy sessions PER ISSUE. For example, if you use 5 sessions to talk about financial problems, you can request 5 more session for family counseling. The insurance companies are hoping you don’t know this rule. Keep in mind that EAP resets each year so remember to start scheduling your sessions early in the year so you can take full advantage of the program.
Every January you start off with 5 or more free EAP sessions (no copay either). Each member of your family also gets this benefit. You get 5 sessions, your husband gets 5 sessions, your kids get 5 sessions, etc. That’s a whole lot of free counseling, right? This is why I don’t understand why people don’t get therapy. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is there for us to use. It’s free and it’s even convenient with Teletherapy services.
What is Teletherapy Services?
When I tell friends about this service they always say, “but Diana I don’t have time to drive to the therapist’s office, “cry for an hour”, and drive back. That means I will miss two hours of work or family time.” To which I reply, “Why don’t you try a Teletherapy service?” Teletherapy is where you talk with a Licensed, Professional Therapist online. There are therapists out there that will meet with you via your smartphone or laptop. I promise you will feel like you’re right there in the same room and it’s such a time saver. The sessions take place via an online video platform like Skype or Facetime. Online therapy has proven to be just as effective as in-person therapy. If you don’t like this option you can always get your sessions face-to-face with a local therapist that accepts EAP.
Does my insurance offer EAP?
Call your insurance company and ask if they offer EAP (Employee Assistance Program). Most employers offer this service and you probably don’t even know you have it because it’s not listed on the back of your insurance card. Therapy isn’t something people are talking about at the workplace, but trust me your employer provides this service for a reason. They want their employees to be happy and healthy because, to be honest, it helps their bottom line. So stop filling the void and figure your stuff out. I know times are tough but this is an opportunity for growth!
- Take action (Get out your insurance card) Call the “member services” or general number on the back of your insurance card.
- Ask this question. “Does my company offer the EAP Employee Assistance Program?
- If yes ask them for the direct number to call EAP in the future. This is often an external company that your insurance contracts with. (Write this number on the back of your insurance card with a sharpie so you have it in the future to call back and get more sessions. (remember it’s 5 free session per year per issue)
- Call the EAP number they gave you and get to the “Mental Health” area.
- Tell the person you want teletherapy and find out their preferred company they use. Mine used this one.
- They will either give you the telehouse AKA the preferred vendors phone number or send a message there to have someone reach out to you directly to schedule your appointment.
- Wait – It often takes time to get this all set up so be prepared to wait a few days before you call the EAP number that you wrote in sharpie on the back of your card.
- Have your 5 session but remember at the end you will need to call EAP again to ask for another 5 sessions for another issue. (5 free session per year per issue)
- Remember to tell them you want the same therapist you have been working with. Give them the persons name and the agency they work for so they can get this all set up.
No matter what issues you have; Anxiety, Depression, Anger Management, Navigating Life Transitions, Grief Counseling, Relationship and Couples Counseling, etc. Whatever it is that’s causing stress and anxiety in your life, there are free services out there to help you. The trick is that you have to take action. Nobody is going to do this for you. I know it can be scary trying something new (like therapy), but I promise you after the first session you will look forward to your next appointment.
Have you ever used EAP for therapy? How about a Teletherapy service? Tell us about your experience.