WellPoint to morph into Anthem

 - Wellpoint's Joseph R. Swedish

WellPoint will shed its name and assume the consumer-facing Anthem name in a strategic brand move designed to better align the company’s corporate and product brands as healthcare shifts to a more consumer-centric marketplace.

“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,” Joseph R. Swedish, president and CEO of WellPoint, said in a press release. “We believe it is important to call ourselves by the name that people know best—Anthem.”

Not only is Anthem the better-known brand, it also is associated with providing health benefits to nearly 67 million people served by WellPoint’s affiliated companies, including 37 million beneficiaries enrolled in its family of plans. The company serves plan members as Blue Cross licensees and Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensees in 14 states, and uses the Anthem name in most of them. The Amerigroup, CareMore and UniCare subsidiaries are used in other states.

“Brand is a significant driver of consumer purchasing decisions across our businesses,” Swedish said in the release. “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.”

The change requires approval by shareholders and is expected to take place by the end of 2014.