WellPoint to change corporate name back to Anthem

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the U.S., plans to change its name back to Anthem Inc., the brand under which it sells most of its coverage, the company disclosed Tuesday.

WellPoint and other large health insurers find themselves increasingly marketing directly to consumers, as Obamacare requires most uninsured Americans to obtain coverage and employers thrust more responsibility for costs on their workers. The company sells plans in 14 of the health-care law’s new insurance exchanges, in most cases under its Anthem brand.  The company doesn't sell plans under the WellPoint name.

WellPoint Inc. was formed in 2004 when Indianapolis-based insurer Anthem Inc. completed a $16.5 billion merger with California-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc.

The name change will be completed by the end of the year, pending shareholder approval, the company said in a statement. The next enrollment period for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare begins Nov. 15.

“We’re no longer a health insurer; we’re truly a health plan engaging with individuals as opposed with large blocks of business,” WellPoint CEO Joseph Swedish said in a phone interview. “There was this public brand that was a mixed kind of message. Our own employees had difficulty discerning between WellPoint, Anthem and which one is really running the show.”

WellPoint has about 2 million customers who buy the company’s plans directly for themselves and their families, including 769,000 through the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Changing the company’s name will also end confusion for large employers who hire the insurer to manage their health benefits and for state and federal regulators, Swedish said.

“Split brands work only in certain circumstances,” he said. “There’s nothing more personal than health-care services. That’s why we felt a singular brand was critically important.”

The insurer plans to pick a new ticker symbol for its stock, which currently trades under "WLP," and it will need a new Web address to replace www.wellpoint.com .

A WellPoint spokeswoman declined to detail the company's cost for the name change.

WellPoint will hold a shareholder vote on the change in November.

The company's shares closed at $108.66 on Tuesday and have climbed more than 17 percent so far this year, hitting several all-time highs.

Anthem Inc. was originally formed in 1995 when Indianapolis-based insurer Associated Group merged with Cincinnati-based Community Mutual Insurance Co. Anthem demutualized and conducted an initial public offering in 2001.


  • perhaps
    Maybe he was throwing himself under the bus. As the Company's vision leader and chief manager, it's Mr. Swedish's job to present a clear picture of what his "brand" is (and why it's worth my money). He couldn't do that with the very people who worked there. At least, that's what some brand consultant concluded and told him. Mr. Swedish's better line is "There’s nothing more personal than health-care services." Hopefully he appreciates the irony - that there is nothing more impersonal than health insurers, the intermediaries between us and the health-care system.
  • I was banned by WISH-TV for Speaking Truth to Power!
    "Our own employees had difficulty discerning between WellPoint, Anthem and which one is really running the show.” Way to throw your employees under the bus, Mr. Ceo man.

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

    2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

    3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

    4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

    5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............