Clark Howard and health insurance…

I enjoy Clark Howard – he’s quite a “character” and, as a consumer advocate, he’s full of good advice that helps people make the most of their money. I watched Clark on WSB-TV this evening, reporting on health insurance for young people and, overall, thought he was accurate. However, I have 2 primary concerns:

(1) he recommended Kaiser as “one of the lowest cost health plans for young adults.” Now, Kaiser is an excellent company and one we’ve used regularly for years. However, it’s readily apparent to me that Clark (or his staff) didn’t bother to actually check or compare rates among the various plans that are available in the metro Atlanta area. Having specialized in health insurance for 35 years, I can assure you (and Clark) that there are, in fact, several other plans that are significantly less expensive while still offering comparable benefits. In fact, after watching his segment I ran a quick “set” of quotes, all for a 25 year old single male in the 30339 zip code, and found plans with 4 other companies (Blue Cross, Coventry, Humana, and Aetna) that ranged from $25 – $40+ per month less than Kaiser. (Hmm; maybe a little more homework and “fact checking” would be in order, Clark.)

(2) He also mentioned that a good place to get quotes is ehealthinsurance. In this, he is correct. However, it seems to me that he could or should have suggested that shoppers look for licensed insurance brokers who are members of NAHU, the professional association of brokers like me who specialize in health insurance. There are quite a few web sites (my own included: that are from local, Atlanta brokers who would dearly love the type of “free exposure” that Clark gave to a large, nationwide behemoth that the local brokers like me are often forced to compete against. Despite what Clark seems to think, a local broker, familiar with the market where you are, is likely to give you better, more personalized assistance and support in selecting and using the best health plan for your specific needs and wants than will a large, impersonal business headquartered in California.

Thanks for the effort, Clark, but next time do a little more research first, and then try “plugging” your local folks who “specialize,” eh?