by Tim Rowan, Editor Emeritus

We have been keeping an eye on the Medicare Advantage business as the number of beneficiaries who switch exceeds fifty percent. In past reports, we have described the federal lawsuits that accuse MA insurance companies of illicitly padding revenues while illegally denying treatments that straight Medicare would have covered. (See MedPAC Exposes More Medicare Advantage Crimes – 3/20/24)

Until now, we haven’t gone into detail about those independent brokers with the continuous TV commercials every November. It turns out, they may be even more dishonest than the insurance companies themselves.

Poor Joe

Perhaps the most famous of these brokers is the one that put Broadway Joe Namath in our living rooms a hundred times a day. The company started life as Health Insurance Innovations, owned by Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. After accusations of fraud, the company folded and re-emerged as Benefytt. When the same accusations returned, the owners shut that company down and came back as Blue Lantern Health.

According to Healthcare Uncovered, the firm filed for a state-level bankruptcy equivalent in Delaware last April, called “assignment for the benefit of creditors.” Blue Lantern’s website is down, as are and, their signature assets. Nobody answers the 800 number Namath hocked for years.

A History of Fraud

The bankruptcy litigation revealed a database of 7 million seniors who had been bombarded by 17 million phone calls. The bankruptcy was apparently precipitated by the Federal Trade Commission, which forced Benefytt to pay $100 million to the people it had scammed by selling sham Obamacare plans, with checks distributed to victims in March. The Securities and Exchange Commission forced Health Insurance Innovations and the company’s co-founder Gavin Southwell to pay a $12 million settlement. Another close associate of the company, Steven Dorfman, was convicted of wire fraud in February.

Deceptive Practices

Tolerance for the firm’s deceptive advertising scheme ended with changes to the Medicare Advantage rule in 2023 that took effect in 2024. Blue Lantern stated after the fines were imposed that the new rule was critical to the company’s downfall,

Previously, former HHS Security Alex Azar characterized the Namath ads as “real savings, real options” in Medicare Advantage, ignoring the studies showing that the MA program costs the Trust Fund not less but $140 billion more than original Medicare.

Healthcare Uncovered concluded with this observation, “Further rules imposed since then by the Biden administration are putting even more pressure on Medicare Advantage lead generators, also called ‘third-party marketing organizations.’ (TPMOs) Beginning October 1 of this year, CMS will require that TPMOs get express consent from individuals before selling contact information to other marketers and brokers — a key loophole that enabled the growth of Blue Lantern and its predecessors.”


Don’t worry about Joe Namath’s retirement income though.
He has already landed a gig hawking hearing aids.

Joe Namath TV ad

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Tim Rowan, Editor Emeritus

Tim Rowan is a 30-year home care technology consultant who co-founded and served as Editor and principal writer of this publication for 25 years. He continues to occasionally contribute news and analysis articles under The Rowan Report’s new ownership. He also continues to work part-time as a Home Care recruiting and retention consultant. More information:

©2024 by The Rowan Report, Peoria, AZ. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Healthcare at Home: The Rowan Report. One copy may be printed for personal use: further reproduction by permission only.