The heads of many big U.S. health insurers now seem to avoid using the word “insurance” when they’re talking about their operations with securities analysts. They also tend to shy away from mentioning “insurance agents,” “brokers” or people who sell insurance.
Gail Boudreaux, the chief executive officer of Anthem Inc., used the words “broker” or “brokers” four times Wednesday during a company analyst call.
Anthem — an Indianapolis-based company that holds the Blue Cross license, the Blue Shield license, or both the Blue Cross and the Blue Shield licenses in many states — held the call to go over its first-quarter earnings.
Boudreaux told analysts that Anthem is making efforts to increase sales of commercial insurance products, not just government plan products and services.
“We feel very good about our commercial growth this quarter, and, quite frankly, about our projections for the full year,” Boudreaux said during the call, which was streamed live on the web.
Anthem has tried to take a disciplined approach to pricing in a highly competitive market, but it has also tried to invest in simplifying its business proceses, and in developing support tools for brokers, Boudreaux said.
“We’ve committed to growing our commercial business, in part, by developing a broad suite of new consumer products, and by making it easier for our customers and brokers to do business with us,” Boudreaux said.
In addition to developing new digital broker tools, Anthem has improved its online employer shopping tools, Boudreaux said.
Anthem is setting up a pharmacy benefits management (PBM) unit, IngenioRx, and Boudreaux also talked about brokers playing a role in building IngenioRx.
“Earlier this month, IngenioRx hosted its second annual client conference,” Boudreaux said.