Nasco and IBM sign ten-year agreement for Strategic outsourcing services

IBM to e-enable Claims Processing, Assist With New Offerings, Achieve HIPAA-readiness.

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ATLANTA, GA & SOMERS, NY - 30 Aug 2000: -- National Account Service Company LLC (NASCO) and IBM today announced a 10 year services contract, valued at more than $300 million. Under the agreement, IBM Global Services will provide information technology services in support of the NASCO Processing System (NPS), which processes health claims for Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans across the country. This year, the system will handle 60 million health claims for participating Blue Plans.

In addition to operating the NPS, IBM Global Services will update the system to respond to the changing needs of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans it serves. Specifically, IBM will work with NASCO to develop a secure, self-service system through which Blue Cross and Blue Shield members and employer groups will be able to check on claims status and access other information via the Web. The companies will also work to make it possible for NASCO customer service representatives at Blue Plans to access and work on individual claims in a Web-based environment. In addition, IBM will provide application management support for the NPS, and collaborate with NASCO to identify new applications opportunities for the Blue Plans.

"NASCO is committed to helping the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans differentiate themselves in today's rapidly changing health care market," said John E. "Buddy" Dye, chief executive officer of NASCO. "We are confident that with IBM, NASCO and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans we serve will have the expertise and resources to move aggressively into the e-business arena and to ensure early compliance with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)."

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) sets nationwide standards to ensure the security and confidentiality of electronically stored patient health records.

In announcing its selection of IBM, NASCO cited IBM's world-class e-business experience, particularly related to the health care industry, along with the company's long-standing relationship with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, its HIPAA experience and high quality data center operations.

"The Blue Plans are already a very large and important customer base for IBM," said Micky Dominick, vice president, health care industry, IBM Global Services. "NASCO's vision for the future, including HIPAA-readiness and e-business functionality will assist in making it possible for Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans to realize their individual goals. We're pleased to team with NASCO to pass these benefits on to Blue Plans."

To support NASCO's aggressive plans, IBM will expand its existing Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania facility to handle health care application development and maintenance. NASCO's data center and server operations will be moved to and maintained in IBM's data center in Lexington, Kentucky.

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