The Real Deal on Anthem Insurance As a Health Care Brand
Those unfamiliar with Anthem Insurance may think it's a company name, but no such company exists. To explain why would require a lengthy and confusing list of mergers and acquisitions made in the last couple of decades, so let's leave it at this: When you buy an Anthem policy, you're actually buying a policy under the "Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield" brand offered by WellPoint.
WellPoint is the parent organization of Blue Cross of California, which is the for-profit end of the Blue Shield Blue Cross Association, the BSBCA being the largest health provider in the state and Blue Shield being the well-regarded not-for-profit organization behind a number of charitable and low-income health initiatives.
The corporate family tree of Anthem Insurance may be confusing, but the bottom line is that its policies are in good company, and you're actually buying insurance from the deeply respected Blue Shield Blue Cross Association when you buy a plan from Anthem.
Why Buy from Anthem?
Anthem is connected with Blue Shield Blue Cross, which is ranked at three out of four on the 2011 Report Card for California health care, and which has ranked on Businessweek's most generous corporations, as well as ranking as one of the most ethical companies in the world. Anthem is the largest for-profit group within the BSBC network.
Anthem's parent company, WellPoint, provides a higher quality of health insurance than you might get from many public and not-for-profit companies, including benefits like these:
- A Wide Range of Options
WellPoint offers versatile HMO and PPO plans as well as plenty of options for dental, vision and life insurance, not to mention group, family and employee coverage.
- Innovative Care
WellPoint has a reputation for innovation, constantly working to deliver new types of insurance policies and services. Partnering with IBM, WellPoint helped to create Watson, a computer program that can analyze natural language in order to help medical and insurance professionals to quickly answer whatever questions they might have.
- Care Comparison
Another innovation made by WellPoint is Care Comparison. This is a strategy by which customers can compare cost and quality of care across multiple plans and treatment options. The system implemented by WellPoint is so effective that it has been applied to all Blue Shield Blue Cross Association plans.
Without its innovations in business and in medical care, the Blue Shield Blue Cross Association wouldn't be able to donate $130 million to the Blue Shield Foundation and it wouldn't be able to offer Watson and Care Comparison in all of its plans.
WellPoint is ranked two out of four stars on the 2011 California Health Care Quality Report Card, putting it one star below its not-for-profit partners. Its rating may be owing, in part, to a 2008 settlement with the California Department of Managed Health Care over allegations that it had improperly canceled insurance for policy holders diagnosed with illnesses. WellPoint admitted no official liability, but reinstated hundreds of policy holders.
WellPoint's well-heeled political action committee, WellPAC, steers about 75 percent of its donations to Republican candidates, many of whom opposed federal health care reform.
At the end of the day, of course, you're not really buying insurance for political or ethical reasons, but to take care of you and yours. Within the Blue network, WellPoint/Anthem remains a top choice for customers who want to be on the cutting edge of innovative health care. If WellPoint/Anthem has an affordable and efficient plan that suits your needs, you would be remiss not to consider it.