One of the largest health benefits providers in the United States, Anthem, Inc. was established in 1985 through the merger of two mutual health insurance companies, Indiana Blue Cross and Indiana Blue Shield, both of which had been around since the 1940s. When the two companies merged, the new company was named Associated Insurance Companies, Inc. Since its establishment, the company has undergone multiple name changes. It was The Associated Group until a merger in 1995, where its name was changed to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. A year later, the name was changed once more to Anthem Insurance Company.

A multi-story commercial building with a sign on the front that says "Anthem."
The Ben Lytle Center, Anthem headquarters, 2021 Credit: Jenna Auber

In 1989, Anthem established Acordia, Inc. to handle selling and servicing of health insurance and employee benefits. By 1997, Acordia separated from Anthem to become an independent, privately held company.

At this time, Anthem was headquartered in a prominent spot in the middle of downtown Indianapolis at 120 Monument Circle at the previous site of the English Hotel And Opera House. The location became home to a J. C. Penney store after World War II before being renovated in the early 1990s to become offices for Anthem.

Anthem set a precedent of growth through the purchase of other insurance companies. From 1989 to 2000, the company acquired American General Insurance Co. (1989), The Shelby Insurance Co. (1991), Southeastern Mutual Insurance Company (operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kentucky) (1993), Community Mutual Insurance (provider of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Ohio) (1995), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut (1997), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire (1999), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado and Nevada (1999), and Anthem acquired Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine (2000).

Breaking from its roots as a mutual health insurance company, Anthem became a publicly traded for-profit company at the end of 2001. The next big move for Anthem came in 2004 when it merged with WellPoint Health Networks and changed its name to WellPoint, Inc. After this merger, the company continued on with its near yearly acquisitions including Lumenos and WellChoice (2005), American Imaging Management (2007), Resolution Health (2008), DeCare Dental (2009), CareMore (2011), Amerigroup (2012), and Simply Healthcare Holdings (2015).

In 2014, the company changed its name back to Anthem, Inc. A year later, Anthem offered to acquire Cigna, but this merger proved difficult. Fearing the merger would negatively impact consumers in what was already a concentrated market, the U.S. Justice Department filed a suit to block it. In 2017, a federal judge ruled in favor of the U.S Justice Department and officially blocked the merger.

Anthem was in the courts again for its failure to safeguard customer data, compromising the personal information of millions of people during a cyber attack in 2015. As a result, Anthem paid out over $150 million in claims settlement.

In 2017, Anthem made the decision to leave Express Scripts, its pharmacy benefit manager, at the end of its contract. Instead of choosing a different company, Anthem decided to manage pharmacy benefits itself through the establishment of IngenioRx. In partnership with CVS Healthcare, Anthem launched IngenioRx in 2020.

At the end of 2018, Anthem decided not to renew its lease at 120 Monument Circle. At the time, Anthem was constructing a 21-story tower in Atlanta called Anthem Technology Center, and Indianapolis civic leaders feared that the company would abandon the city as its primary location. Anthem instead recommitted to Indianapolis and invested $20 million to renovate its operations center at 220 Virginia Avenue. In response to the criticism that its plans for a parking lot would destroy green space, Anthem partnered with neighborhood associations to further develop the property. The renovation boosted ongoing revitalization in the nearby Fletcher Place historic district. The Ben Lytle Center, named for Anthem’s CEO from 1989 to 1999, houses more than 2,600 Anthem employees.

In 2020, the United States Justice Department sued Anthem over claims that the company overbilled its Medicare Advantage plans by submitting inaccurate diagnosis information, which the company denied. As of 2021, the case was pending. 

By the end of 2020, Anthem covered more than 42 million people across the United States through its health care plans and specialty products—life and disability, dental, vision, and behavioral health benefits, as well as long-term care insurance and flexible spending accounts. The company provided Blue Cross Blue Shield and non-BCBS plans to commercial and specialty businesses; Medicare and Medicaid plans, through government programs; and general benefits management services, through Anthem subsidiaries.

Revised June 2021

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