Anthem rebrand reflects heightened focus on healthcare services

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What’s in a name? A business beyond health insurance, Anthem hopes.

After eight years, Anthem will rebrand to Elevance Health — a combination of “elevate” and “advance”— with the revamp coming as the health insurance industry transforms beyond simply taking on individuals’ health risk to directly providing care to patients, and offering care delivery, pharmacy benefit management and technology services to other insurers.

Anthem, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states, will need shareholder approval to make the change. The company’s board of directors are scheduled to vote on the matter on May 18, according to the Wall Street Journal. Anthem did not immediately respond to an interview request.

“Today, we have one of the most balanced and resilient portfolios in the market,” Chief Marketing Officer Bill Beck wrote in an email. “Through its digital capabilities, pharmacy, behavioral, clinical and complex care assets, the company is able to address consumers’ full range of needs with an integrated, whole-person approach. It’s through these diverse assets that the company will deliver on its strategy, drive growth and exceed expectations for consumers.”

This isn’t the first time the company has rebranded. In 2014, the insurer changed its name from Wellpoint. Last year, CEO Gail Boudreaux teased the refresh during the company investor day by telling investors “the traditional insurance company that we were has given way to the digitally enabled platform for health we are becoming,” meaning the second-largest insurer in the nation with 45.4 million members views itself as a digital health company.

With a new name in sight, the company will reportedly continue its investment in healthcare services.

At the start of the year, Anthem invested an undisclosed sum in primary care company Vera Health, after the startup announced it would complete a $370 million merger with data company Castlight Health.

In 2021, Anthem invested $92 million in physician enablement startup Privia Health; struck an agreement with Caremax to help the primary care clinic build out 50 new sites; and inked a joint venture with consumer AI health company K Health, called Hydrogen Health. The company also partnered with Humana to jointly invest $140 million into a new pharmacy benefit manager tech platform.

By investing in products beyond insurance, payers can expand their profit margins, which are limited thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio requirement that restricts the portion of revenue payers can pocket. Even the insurance lobby is getting in on the trend.

Last year, America’s Health Insurance Plans formally rebranded to simply AHIP, in a move to reflect its members’ changing business.

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