Anthem Expands Digital Health Partnerships

Anthem expanded its virtual primary care services to 11 new states on Tuesday, solidifying its strategy of using technology to empower independent practitioners, rather than acquiring medical practices outright.

In the coming months, the insurer aims to expand its digital health services – which provide more than 2 million commercial policyholders with virtual primary care – across its entire geographic footprint. Anthem, which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in 14 states, is integrating these digital services into its existing insurance products for fully insured and self-insured members. The company aims to cover 10 million self-insured lives with its digital primary care services by the end of the year.

The insurer also aims to expand its first virtual products for fully insured members to eight states by the end of 2022. Anthem rolled out its first virtual plan for fully insured members in six states during open enrollment this year. . The plan requires members to visit a clinician virtually before seeing a doctor in person. It’s too early to disclose membership of its digital offering, but early numbers are promising, said Chief Digital Officer Rajeev Ronanki.

“We are constantly studying the demand for these services,” Ronanki said. “Usually the limiting factor tends to be just getting all the regulatory approvals we need because the rules and regulations are different in every state. So as soon as they’re settled, we’ll be ready to launch. “

Rather than following competitors’ strategy of taking over physician practices to become a payvidor, Anthem is focused on becoming a digital health company that connects disparate clinicians through technology that promotes value-based care. , Ronanki said. By equipping providers with technology that helps them navigate new payment models, the company said it has been able to reduce patient healthcare costs, increase enrollment through customer experience updates and increased reimbursement for the federal government’s Medicare Advantage Star rating program.

“Ours is like a partnership strategy,” Ronanki said. “We are not acquiring care delivery. It is the integration we want, ensuring that virtual and digital care is not a silo that exists all by itself on an island, but is connected to the rest of the care ecosystem.”

The company’s investment strategy reflects this objective, he said.

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