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For Anthem, a rose by any other name . . .

Sorry, Shakespeare. Anthem’s latest name change doesn’t make its contract disputes any less foul.

Drumroll, please. Because later this month, Anthem will become … wait for it: ‘Elevance Health.’ This is the health insurance company’s second rebrand in a decade, and you’re not alone in wondering why.

The shiny, new name — a combination of ‘elevate’ and ‘advance’ — is a clever marketing ploy that’s intended to highlight Anthem’s growth outside of health plan offerings. The company has been following in UnitedHealth Group’s footsteps in broadening capabilities and its industry footprint. (Read: control.)

Anthem is the second-largest health insurer in the United States, and in a statement, Anthem said the rebrand “underscores the company’s commitment to elevating whole health and advancing health beyond healthcare.”

What the what? Sounds like a load of jargon to us. And when we scan the country, it doesn’t even seem particularly truthful.

Up in Maine, yet another healthcare provider has dropped Anthem insurance – the third provider in the state to drop Anthem in two years.

“Our current rates of reimbursement for services we provide to Anthem’s members are much too low to allow us to continue to provide the level of quality care that our patients have come to expect from us,” Coastal Women’s said in a letter to its patients.

While Coastal Women’s says it has tried to continue its relationship with Anthem by proposing reasonable rates, the health insurance company isn’t budging. Considering that Coastal Women’s serves 22,000 patients, that loss of coverage could potentially impact thousands.

And down south in Georgia, Anthem’s decision to terminate Northside from its insurance network in May 2021 has made it all the way to the state’s Supreme Court.

The reimbursement dispute also fueled a debate over the definition of “public health emergency,” because Anthem dropped the health system during COVID-19 — which led to the passing of a 2021 law that now prohibits insurers from doing just that – dropping health-care providers from their networks in the middle of a health crisis.

Last, but not least, thousands of patients in California scrambled as Anthem pulled similar moves last July. According to Dignity Health, Anthem refused proposals with rates below hospital inflation, and while the health plan and Dignity Health finally came to terms, it took a six-month negotiation to get there.

So, Anthem may try to reposition itself as ‘advanced’ and ‘elevated, but the old adage, ‘actions speak louder than words,’ rings true. And for health insurance companies, business practices certainly speak louder than rebranding efforts.

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