employee benefits

Bundled EAPs vs. Stand-alone EAPs


You may be asking yourself: What is an EAP? An EAP is an Employee Assistance Program which offers employee benefits to a company. It includes resources to help employees access mental health resources, legal services, work-life solutions, and so much more. Due to the rising statistics of employee stress, absenteeism, drug abuse, and mental health issues, EAP programs are the best solution for creating a thriving workplace and healthy employee team. EAPs are also designed to help improve employee morale and engagement. What is the difference between a bundled EAP and a stand-alone EAP? There is actually a significant difference, which impacts the included employee benefits. Let’s get into the differences and why one may be better than the other for your team.

Stand-alone EAPs can benefit your employees up to ten times more compared to the bundled EAP services offered through your normal health insurance company.


Why bundled EAPs in your health insurance plan are not enough

A true Employee Assistance Program offers much more than just work-life balance services and counseling benefits for your workplace. Unfortunately, an EAP that is bundled with your insurance carrier is not the same as a stand-alone EAP and falls short with things like critical incident response, drug-free workplace training, support for management, etc. In addition, the insurance carrier’s EAP does not cover all of your employees, only those enrolled in your health plan. These are just some of the limits imposed by an EAP that is bundled with your insurance carrier.


What are “Free” Employee Assistance Programs?

Many times, companies will label something as “free” without it actually meaning free in the long run. In their article discussing this issue1, John Burke and David Sharar state that health insurance companies, retirement plans, and more will bundle EAP services into their core products and then offer the EAP as “free.” In reality, it is not free because the price is actually calculated in with the other bundled products. Free EAPs usually include restricted services such as limited face-to-face counseling, little promotion, no management referrals, and no critical incident response available. It’s wise not to take these bundled EAP services seriously and to consider investing in a real, full service, stand-alone EAP. A stand-alone EAP offers full employee benefits that will give you more than enough resources and tools for anything that comes up in your workplace.


Why choose a stand-alone EAP?

Stand-alone EAPs can benefit your employees up to ten times more compared to the bundled EAP services offered through your normal health insurance company. Most of the time, you compromise the value of your EAP when choosing a bundle. A stand-alone EAP includes employee benefits that focus solely on assisting employees by resolving employee issues. It actually meets the full needs of your employees and takes a hands-on approach to see real results. According to a Stitch Marketing Research Study2, 83 percent of companies who have invested in a stand-alone EAP now view the services as a “must-have” benefit for their employees. They also share that only 57 percent of carrier-provided EAP customers view the service as essential. Stand-alone EAPs see greater results concerning increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, and greater employee morale and engagement. Furthermore, there is a customizable approach taken with these EAPs, as well as overall cost savings to the companies that use them. The list of benefits goes on and on. When it comes to comparing bundled vs. stand-alone EAPs, there is no reason not to go with a full service stand-alone EAP.

We hope this article has given you more information and knowledge on why it’s so important to differentiate between a bundled EAP and a stand-alone EAP. If you want to feel confident that your employees’ issues are being addressed in their entirety and EAP interventions are thorough and timely, go with a stand-alone EAP. It’s well worth it to invest in a stand-alone so you’re better equipped to help your employees in a time of crisis, ultimately improving your workplace environment. Our Employee Assistance Program at Care Plus Solutions can help you get started today. Check out all of our employee benefits right here: https://www.careplussolutions.com/eap.


Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.


1 Burke, John and Sharar, David. “Do ‘free’ EAPs offer value? It depends who you ask.” (2009).
2 Stitch Marketing Research Study (2014).


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