This isn't the first time the company has rebranded. In 2014, the insurer changed its name from Wellpoint, consolidating the brands to avoid market confusion after the $21 billion merger between the two insurers was completed in 2004.
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 now views itself as a digital health company. The name change comes as Anthem and other insurers grow their health services businesses.
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.
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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. The company also partnered with Humana to jointly invest $140 million into launching a new pharmacy benefit manager tech platform.
Last year, America's Health Insurance Plans formally rebranded to simply AHIP, in a move to reflect its members' changing business.
The pandemic's acceleration of the consumerization of the healthcare industry has driven insurers to rethink their corporate identities, said Matt Wolf, a director and senior healthcare analyst at RSM. He said it's safe to say that more health insurers will be looking to refresh their brands going forward.
"The role that brand played in healthcare historically was to communicate your market share and help with negotiations with other healthcare providers or insurers. It wasn't so much to communicate a message to patients," Wolf said. "There are some exceptions to that. But that exception is going to become the rule."
Rebrands like the one Anthem aims to undertake can cost "millions and millions and millions of dollars," Wolf said, with the company updating its logo, website, employee business cards, building signage and much more. With this refresh, Anthem aims to achieve a return-on-investment by capturing more of the large group employer market.
Companies war for workers has increasingly driven businesses to view health benefits as a way to attract top talent. By marketing itself as a health platform, Anthem will be able to showcase the wraparound services it offers to companies' human resources departments, which they will then be able to market to prospective employees.
"As we move forward into this consumer-driven model of healthcare, I think leading employers will want to be able to say, 'No, we are on platform X for healthcare,' and that will communicate a value to the labor market as well," Wolf said.
Corporate refreshes can also be a way to start anew when it comes to consumer experience of a brand, an area where health insurers have traditionally ranked as "one of the lowest, if not the lowest, industries in the U.S.," Wolf said. If payers' newly diversified businesses are to succeed, they cannot keep the name of a company that people have negative feelings toward, he said. There are signs that the pandemic has changed individuals' perspectives of their health insurer.
Since January 2020, consumer trust in their health plans have risen four points, reaching 67 out of 100 in Edelman's 2022 Trust Barometer report. Patients were more likely to trust their health insurer than they were to trust pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms and healthtech companies, the report said. Individuals only trust hospitals and pharmacies more than health plans, according to the report. The increasingly blurred line between payer and provider could account for consumers changing attitudes, Wolf said.
"Branding is going to become so important in healthcare because it's going to communicate a value proposition," Wolf said. "If you're used to the total package that you get with one of these payer-provider hybrid organizations, you'll want to stick with it."