Anthem unveils corporate rebrand as Elevance Health

Anthem on Thursday announced a corporate rebrand, with the company planning to now operate as Elevance Health, a portmanteau of "elevate" and "advance."

The update is pending shareholder approval, according to the announcement. Anthem's individual Blue Cross Blue Shield will continue to operate as such as the brand resonates strongly with members in those markets, the insurer said.

While the individual plans will maintain their existing brands, Anthem said it does intend to reduce the number of brands it operates overall to reduce complexity and enhance the member experience.

The goal of the change is to underscore Anthem's effort to grow beyond a health insurance company to represent a "lifetime partner" in the health of its members. Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., the company's chief health officer, told Fierce Healthcare that the rebranding represents Anthem clearly stating that goal as central moving forward.

"What we're doing is setting up a clear marker that we're different," he said. "We're setting up that marker for ourselves, and holding ourselves to a really high standard. And I think doing it so publicly with a name change like this, we're making it clear to others that they should hold us to a higher standard."

Agrawal said achieving this goal requires thinking holistically about members' health and considering their mental and physical health needs alongside the social determinants of health. For example, during the pandemic, the insurer was able to reach more than 80% of its high-risk Medicare and Medicaid members to assess their social needs.

Food insecurity was reported frequently in those conversations, he said, and, as a result, Anthem sent food deliveries to members to help them access healthy food. He said that a quarter of the U.S. reported food insecurity challenges during COVID-19, which can force people to choose between nutrition and healthcare needs.

"What's really driving this name change is a recognition of the broader health focus on whole health," Agrawal said. "We want to be a partner with all of our members and consumers in their health, and that means their holistic health, not just a piece of it."

In addition to addressing a broader array of member needs, Agrawal said Anthem is also in a position to maintain a relationship with its members for the duration of

their life. A member enrolled in an Anthem plan through their employer can age into an Anthem Medicare Advantage plan, maintaining that continuity.

Similarly, an Anthem Medicaid enrollee or someone in an Affordable Care Act exchange can carry their care journey beyond those initial plans within Anthem's ecosystem.

In the announcement, Anthem CEO Gail Boudreaux called the rebrand an "exciting and necessary evolution" for the company as its puts its energy into this lifetime health focus.

"Grounded in our mission and fueled by our bold and ambitious purpose to improve the health of humanity, we are serving people across their entire care journey, not just a single touchpoint," she said in a promotional video.