WellPoint, one of the largest investor-owned health insurers in the country, is looking to rebrand itself as Anthem, the company recently announced.
WellPoint’s CEO Joe Swedish said the change was in an effort to better connect with consumers in a “radically changing” healthcare environment.
“As consumer engagement is heightened, we recognize that brand—an indicator of trust and a predictor of willingness to engage—is going to be of increasing importance,” said Joseph Swedish, president and CEO of WellPoint in a news release. “We believe it is important to call ourselves by the name that people know best—Anthem. Changing the corporate brand to Anthem is an important expression of our commitment to serve as a trusted partner in health. Millions of people experience this promise every day through the work our family of companies do to provide information and tools to empower individuals to better understand and manage their health. Trust is central to who we are and what we stand for as a company.”
The Anthem name will hopefully eliminate brand confusion among its 48,000 employees and large provider network, according to Swedish.
“This will help tremendously in aligning our relationships with all stakeholders,” said Swedish.
WellPoint is based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has 37.3 million members. The insurer took the name WellPoint in 2004 when WellPoint Health Networks and Anthem merged. However, most of its plans carry the Anthem name.
WellPoint has moved more aggressively than Aetna and UnitedHealth to participate in the state and federal health insurance exchanges created under the health reform law. In the second quarter of this year, WellPoint added 769,000 exchange members, predicting profit margins for exchange plans to range from three percent and five percent.
Pending approval from shareholders, the change is expected to take place by the end of 2014. A special shareholder meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana for shareholders of record on September 12, 2014.