November 11, 2003

Blue Cross of California (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Bank of America (BoA, Charlotte, N.C.), have co-developed a system that expedites the delivery of both payments and paperwork to healthcare providers via the Internet.

Through BoA Global Treasury Services (GTS), Blue Cross of California ($11.3 billion in assets) will offer expanded information services to its physician partners, including automatic and streamlined claims payments and paperwork. The product that BoA GTS and Blue Cross of California developed is called Bank of America Global Advice Service for Explanation of Benefits.

Long-Term Relationship
"We were invited about a year ago to a Blue Cross of California strategy session where they asked us to help them automate the claims business," says Barbara Woods, VP and sales consultant, BoA GTS. "Out of that meeting, we began to develop the product."

"We have had a relationship with Blue Cross of California for many years," says Catherine Warren, VP and e-commerce product manager, BoA GTS. "Since the claims process manages so much money, that is why Global Treasury Services handles it."

Global Advice is not the first project that BoA GTS and Blue Cross of California have teamed up to create. Global Advice follows the launch of Blue Cross's ProviderAccess service, a Web-based application that provides all Blue Cross physicians and hospitals with up-to-date patient benefit information, claims status and other payment information.

Blue Cross of California processes most claims payments from larger hospital groups through EDI, but many smaller doctors' offices and medical groups do not have EDI capability. "Blue Cross wanted to leverage their EDI investment and provide their entire customer base the ability to receive electronic information," Warren says.

In an effort to remove administrative burdens, Bank of America Global Advice provides healthcare providers with a tool for downloading payment detail into an accounts receivable system. "Providers wanted to receive explanation-of-benefits (data) electronically and this is the first time they have been able to do that," Woods says. "With the electronic transaction, there is no mail float, there is just an e-mail notification. All of the information is on the desktop."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology.