What's in a name? For WellPoint, everything.

WellPoint opted to change its corporate name to Anthem, Inc. in mid-August. Here’s why.

In mid-August, WellPoint, Inc., the nation’s second largest insurer, opted to change its corporate name to Anthem, Inc. Here’s why.

“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,” says Joseph R. Swedish, president and CEO of WellPoint. “We believe it is important to call ourselves by the name that people know best-Anthem.”

WellPoint has 35.7 million medical members nationwide. Revenues in 2013 topped $71 billion, and it employs some 48,000 associates. The company launched some 1,000 new products in 14 states as a result of the health insurance exchange marketplaces. In WellPoint’s 2013 annual report, Swedish says the company’s focus is to simplify, stabilize and unify.

“Brand is a significant driver of consumer purchasing decisions across our businesses,” Swedish says. “As we move closer to a consumer-centric marketplace, we believe Anthem is the best brand to lead our company forward to becoming a more consumer-capable company.” 

Pending approval from shareholders, the name change is expected by the end of 2014. A special shareholder meeting is slated for Nov. 5, 2014.

WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The company serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.) and Wisconsin. 

In most of these service areas, WellPoint’s plans do business as Anthem BlueCross, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia and Empire BlueCross BlueShield, or Empire BlueCross (in the New York service areas). The company also serves customers in other states through Amerigroup and CareMore subsidiaries.

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