Anthem Looking to Change Its Name Elevance Health

Anthem, which owns Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states, will need shareholder approval to make the change. The vote is scheduled to occur May 18.

Anthem Inc., owner of Blue Cross Blue Shield, plans to change its name to Elevance Health Inc., if approved by shareholders on May 18.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the name change calls for Anthem aiming to recast itself as acompany with a broader portfolio and focus than its traditional business of health insurance.

The new name combines the words "elevate” and "advance."

"We believe this name much better reflects the business,” Anthem Chief Executive Gail Boudreaux said in the Journal report. "It’s saying, look, healthcare is more than just health benefits."

Anthem took its current corporate name in 2014, changing it from WellPoint Inc. in an effort to solidify a consumer-focused identity as the Affordable Care Act’s health-insurance marketplaces were launching, according to the report.

The Indianapolis-based company's 14 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans it owns will keep their current names. However, diversifying enables insurers to add businesses that are potentially higher-margin and faster-growing, with the hope of attracting a premium valuation.

Anthem’s health-insurance business last year generated about $121.73 billion of its $136.94 billion in operating revenue, a total that didn’t include revenue that flowed to Anthem’s services units from its insurance operations.

Allen Adamson, co-founder of branding and marketing firm Metaforce, said the new name makes sense for outreach and messaging to employees, in the report. But the newly dubbed Elevance might find it difficult to get consumers to connect to its new corporate moniker, particularly if they continue to encounter the Anthem brand through their healthcoverage, he said.

“It’s going to be a challenge to get any traction,” he said in the report. “It’s not clear what problem this brand will solve from a consumer point of view.”