IBM Global Services and National Account Service Company LLC (Nasco), the claims-processing arm for five Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, have teamed up to bring insurance information to the Internet.
In the $300 million, 10-year outsourcing contract, IBM Global Services will provide the technology, services, and support to update the Nasco processing system, which processes more than 60 million health claims a year. Blue Cross and Blue Shield members will be able to check claim status and other information via the Internet. Additionally, IBM will upgrade the processing system to an online environment for customer-service representatives, and develop and manage new applications.
According to a survey by analyst firm Jupiter Communications, there's high consumer interest in online services. The survey shows that 28% of the respondents were very interested in interacting with their health-care provider online, and 16% reported that they would even consider changing providers to get online services.
Moving claim status and other insurance information online is a great competitive advantage for health-care providers, says Jupiter analyst Rachel Terrace, especially for employer groups. "It would be an added benefit in gaining corporate accounts, in that they could consider licensing the service for company intranets."