COPING WITH 2020 – Member Assistance Services

couple with masks getting consulting assistance

Dealing With the Times

2020 has been a year of unprecedented trials and stressors that have left us all scrambling in our professional and personal lives to find compromises and solutions that address risks and concerns. It’s more important than ever to leverage tools and resources available (as an employee and employer) to assist us with the fallout of COVID and simply life in general, to help maintain our equilibrium, as well as our financial and emotional well-being.

Employee Assistance Programs

Nearly every employer has some form of an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) that offers a multitude of specialty services to help employees cope with life’s challenges. EAP coverage is often overlooked by employees during Open Enrollment, as it’s either bundled with their medical coverage, or, is not formally marketed to employees, and we know open enrollment materials can be overwhelming.

We suggest reaching out directly to employees via email and providing information specific to your EAP as well as mentioning it during an administrator/manager meeting (even if this is virtual) to remind employees this service is available and how to access it. Given the current state of our world for the foreseeable future, it’s not inappropriate to remind employees monthly, and with permission, give examples or testimonials from employees on how the EAP has worked for them to generate comfort in reaching out. A reminder that everything is confidential is incredibly important!

Member Assistance

Valley Schools’ members on our self-funded medical plans with UnitedHealthcare, have access to the UHC EAP, a full services EAP that provides 3 in-person or virtual visits with a licensed counselor to discuss any and all personal concerns. This also includes telephonic emotional, legal, financial, and mental health counseling. Members simply need to call the number on the back of their insurance cards and choose the EAP option to be connected to a UHC Nurse who will chat with them about the issue, and help them determine the most appropriate service.

Valley Schools also offers a stand-alone EAP option with Interface EAP. Much like UHC’s EAP, members have access to one-on-one therapists (virtual or in-person) for personal issues that include emotional and financial concerns and more. There are also GROUP virtual sessions available for employers that address critical incident and grief and loss debriefing.

Teledoc and other EAP’s offer similar services to the above and they are all typically a NO COST resource for employees. If you do not have an EAP in place currently, contact your Valley Schools Account Manager to discuss available options, and to obtain educational flyers that you can provide employees.

Pre-paid Legal Services

Many employers also provide pre-paid legal services during open enrollment. Many people are recognizing that there are legal situations and documents they’d like to have completed. One item that is exceptionally important is having a will and/or trust in place, as well as making certain your beneficiary information is up to date. A pre-paid legal plan typically will provide enrolled members this service at no cost. Landlord disputes, debt consolidation, personal bankruptcy, medical power of attorney, resolving credit card debt, and foreclosures services are also part of most plans.

Valley Schools’ pre-paid legal provider, Met Law, provides these services and more. As mentioned above, we recommend marketing these plans to your employees at least quarterly. If you do not currently have a pre-paid legal program, it is a good time to explore providing this ancillary benefit to employees to make certain it is in place for the 2021-2022 plan year.

As mentioned above, we recommend marketing these plans to your employees at least quarterly. If you do not currently have a pre-paid legal program, it is a good time to explore providing this ancillary benefit to employees to make certain it is in place for the 2021-2022 plan year. Contact your Valley Schools Account Manager to obtain current educational flyers to help craft your message to employees. 

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