NU Online News Service, Aug. 17, 11:36 a.m. – Anthem Insurance Companies Inc., Indianapolis, is mailing information packets and proxies to policyholders who are eligible to vote on its demutualization plan.

Members who want to vote must mail their proxies by Oct. 29, or vote in person on that date at a special member meeting in Indianapolis.

Anthem needs the approval of two-thirds of the members who vote to proceed with demutualization.

Anthem is a for-profit, policyholder-owned mutual life and health insurer that holds the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licenses for Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada and Maine.

Board members want to turn the company into a shareholder-owned stock company, by giving eligible members the full value of the company in cash and stock to compensate them for the loss of policy-based ownership rights, then selling some stock in a newly formed parent company, Anthem Inc., to public investors.

The Anthem board wants to complete the conversion by Dec. 31.

Anthem provides provides major medical coverage for 7.8 million U.S. residents, but many insureds receive coverage through policies owned by employers. Only about 1 million of the members own policies outright or have other legal rights that make them eligible to vote on the demutualization under state statutes, Anthem says.

The only members who can receive stock or cash as a result of the conversion are those who were statutory members June 18, when the Anthem board approved the conversion, and maintain continuous health benefits coverage from the same Anthem company until the conversion plan takes effect, Anthem says.

Anthem needs approval from Indiana insurance regulators and other regulators as well as statutory members.

The Indiana Department of Insurance will hold a public hearing on the demutualization at 10 a.m. Oct. 2, at the Indiana Government Conference Center Auditorium in Indianapolis.

Anthem has posted extensive information about the proposed demutualization on its Web site, at http://www.Anthem.com/jsp/maroon/demutualization/frameset.jsp