Use 7-point checklist to choose an employee assistance plan — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

A new federal law that goes into effect next month has more employers worried about rising health insurance premiums—and looking to employee assistance programs (EAPs) as a way to keep costs down.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 kicks in on Oct. 3. It prohibits group health plans covering 50 or more employees from imposing extraordinary coverage caps on mental health and substance abuse treatment.

In response, many insurance companies are adding mental health coverage to existing policies—at a price. Employers in most states can expect premium hikes between 1% and 3%. But some plans could see premiums go up by as much as 30%, according to the actuarial firm Milliman Inc.

Cost savings through EAPs

That’s why more employers are looking to add EAPs to their benefits mix. With their focus on providing early and relatively inexpensive counseling services to employees, EAPs can provide a gatekeep...(register to read more)

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