Anthem, the health insurance company, has landed Udi Manber, the Google executive who ran engineering for its core search products, as its new head of artificial intelligence.
CNBC, citing people familiar with the matter, reported Manber will be in charge of overseeing the artificial intelligence group at the insurance company and is expected to boost up his team. He is the first executive in the company with this role and marks the most recent technology executive to move over into the health insurance market.
CNBC noted that this an industry that is embracing technology and digital tools to slash costs and improve the coverage it can offer customers. Ari Gottlieb, principal at A2 Strategy Group, told CNBC that by hiring Manber Anthem is gearing up to take advantage of all the data it has amassed to improve the health outcomes of its clients.
Its been a busy few months for Anthem, which in late August announced a new partnership with Walmart aimed at advancing the companies’ joint goals of reducing health care costs and providing consumers with more access to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. In a press release at the time, the companies announced that an Anthem-Walmart program will launch in January of 2019, and will give consumers enrolled in Anthem’s affiliated Medicare Advantage (MA) plans the ability to use “plan allowances to purchase OTC medications and health-related items, such as first aid supplies, support braces and pain relievers at Walmart’s 4,700 stores and on Walmart.com.” The companies said the new partnership is expected to improve MA customer access to these items and reduce out-of-pocket costs. “Creating a better healthcare future requires us to think differently about how we can develop innovative and meaningful healthcare solutions for consumers,” said Felicia Norwood, executive vice president and president of the Government Business Division at Anthem, in the press release. “We are pleased to join with Walmart to create an initiative that combines Anthem’s deep understanding of the needs of senior consumers with Walmart’s unwavering commitment to saving people money and developing a seamless shopping experience. We believe that programs like this can make a tremendous difference for healthcare consumers, who often live on a fixed income or are managing chronic medical conditions.”