ATLANTA, GA and ARMONK, NY - 02 Apr 2009: National Account Service Company LLC (NASCO) today announced it has awarded IBM (NYSE: IBM) a seven-year, $184 million extension to its existing information technology (IT) services contract. IBM will continue to support NASCO's systems infrastructure and applications, helping NASCO process claims more efficiently as a benefit for Blue Cross(R) and Blue Shield(R) Plans, while increasing performance and lowering costs.
As part of the agreement signed on March 31, 2009, IBM will supply application maintenance and development services and will modernize NASCO's application environment using IBM WebSphere software to take full advantage of a service oriented architecture (SOA) platform. IBM will continue providing data center services including storage, server services and off-hour help desk support. IBM will also upgrade NASCO's system to IBM's System z10 mainframe for increased computing power and energy efficiency to support NASCO's growth and continued processing reliability. In addition, IBM global delivery centers and data centers will support NASCO's IT operations with a focus on cost and process optimization, productivity and scalability for future growth.
"NASCO is committed to helping our Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan customers differentiate themselves in today's rapidly changing healthcare market," said John Ladaga, President and Chief Executive Officer, NASCO. "We are confident that with IBM, NASCO and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans we serve will have the expertise and scalable resources to aggressively compete in the healthcare arena."
"People have growing expectations from health systems, and they want to make better health and wellness choices," said Dan Pelino, IBM General Manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry. "It is IBM's view that improved efficiency across health enterprises can be achieved through innovative IT delivery models. The savings can then be funneled back into new innovation or application modernization and smarter healthcare processes, which is exactly what we are doing with NASCO. We are delighted to expand our long standing relationship with NASCO by providing IT services that create more interconnected and intelligent healthcare systems."
In a separate initiative, IBM's collaboration with NASCO to make healthcare smarter includes exploring the application of leading-edge research to solve major industry problems. IBM Research is working with NASCO on a unique first-of-a-kind project to develop tools that will spur the modernization of today's claims systems and enable automation of the processes for setting up new customers, a major pain point in the health insurance industry. The team hopes to lower the cost and complexity of benefit plan customization to enable increasingly patient-centric, personalized healthcare.
NASCO got its start in Atlanta over 20 years ago when it partnered with several Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to introduce an integrated membership and claims processing system for national accounts. Today, NASCO's capabilities extend to include support for individual, local and government business while its multitude of performance-based services help its Plan customers improve their operational efficiencies and reduce costs. Having processed over 1 billion claims, the NASCO Processing System is unsurpassed in the market for reliability, flexibility, scalability and operational performance. For more information, visit www.nasco.com.
For more information, visit www.ibm.com/services. Press kits are available on IBM's Smarter Healthcare solutions at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/26884.wss and IBM's Global Technology Services business at www.ibm.com/press/ITServices.
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