Elevance Health to rebrand Amerigroup plans as Wellpoint in 6 states

Last year, Blues plan giant Anthem unveiled a corporate rebrand as Elevance Health, a move it said better illustrated its ambitions to be more than just a health plan.

Now, the company is updating the branding for its Amerigroup segment to Wellpoint in a bid to better align the government insurance business with its push toward whole health, Elevance Health tells Fierce Healthcare exclusively. The rebrand will roll out in January 2024, pending regulatory approvals, in six states: Arizona, Iowa, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

Amerigroup plans in Maryland already took on the Wellpoint brand earlier this year. The insurer emphasized that while Amerigroup's plans may be gaining a new name, the benefits that members enjoy today won't be changing in tandem.

Felicia Norwood, president of government health benefits for Elevance Health, told Fierce Healthcare that deploying the new name will help "simplify our health plan brands and make it easier for our customers to understand and do business with us over time."

The Wellpoint moniker is "more reflective of who we are today" than the Amerigroup name is, she said.

"We're not the kind of traditional insurance company we used to talk about," Norwood said.

For example, the intensified focus on whole-person health acknowledges the rising tide of mental and behavioral health needs as well as the impact socioeconomic factors have on a person's health and well-being, she said. Wellpoint aims to clearly convey to members that the plan will assist with these challenges "at any stage of life," according to the release.

Wellpoint plans offer a range of benefits designed to make access to care simpler, such as transportation benefits and in-home wellness visits. The insurer also deploys mobile medical clinics to reach people in rural and low-income communities with key services.

Members can tap into the Healthy Rewards program by completing wellness visits and other activities and can access benefits such as supplies for new mothers, grocery stipends for seniors and dental hygiene kits, according to the announcement.

"We have to step back and say, 'What are we focusing on today that's going to improve quality, whole health for our members?'" Norwood said.

Elevance Health is undertaking this rebrand at a time of significant upheaval in the Medicaid program nationwide as states work through the yearslong backlog of eligibility determinations that built up during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This process is expected to stretch well into 2024.

Norwood said the government team at Elevance is focused on ensuring the transition to a new brand name for their plan doesn't lead to additional confusion as they navigate the redetermination process. This means communicating early and often with state agencies and community organizations on the ground that can help get the word out.

Staying focused on what matters most to the member—their benefits and coverage—will "absolutely ensure a smooth transition," Norwood said.

"We are going to help them understand that while these might be a name change in these six states … nothing else is changing about their benefits," she said.