Provider: EAP Help Line Use Sees Big Increase

May 1, 2007 ( - Members called the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota employee assistance program (EAP) help line at a 23% greater rate in 2006 than in 2005, the company said in a Tuesday news release.

An analysis of one Blue Cross employer group showed that when employees called its EAP, productivity rose by 8.5% based on EAP participants’ estimates.

Dennis Winslow, manager of the BluePrint for Health EAP at Blue Cross, cited common reasons for calls in 2006:

  • 20% of calls were for help with marital issues.
  • 17% were for depression and other mental health issues.
  • 17% were for job stress; or
  • 7.6% were because of alcohol or drug problems.

Winslow noted that some of the jump in call volume between 2005 and 2006 also was because Blue Cross was more aggressively promoting the phone line.

Another trend Winslow is seeing is a surge in calls from men. “You might expect that men are the last to ask for help, but men account for almost four of every ten callers. They typically used to account for about one-third of our calls,” Winslow said.

Blue Cross makes the program available at no added charge to fully insured groups, according to the announcement. Some self-insured groups purchase the program. Approximately 550,000 Blue Cross members have access.

The program’s statistics are detailed in a report called “Employee Help Line Calls Increasing,” available  here .