Regence outsources some Idaho jobs to India

Lewiston TribuneJuly 24, 2013 

A handful of Idaho Regence BlueShield employees need passports for a new assignment.

The health insurance company has scheduled 14 employees for travel to India, where they will train people who will assume the work of 55 employees the insurance provider announced it was cutting in May to save money, according to Regence spokeswoman Georganne Benjamin.

Of the positions cut, 13 were in Lewiston, where Regence has about 700 employees. The other employees were in Utah, Oregon and Washington.

The work those people did — processing claims for individual insurance policies — has been outsourced to Cognizant, a New Jersey company.

The Regence employees are learning about how Cognizant functions, Benjamin said. Some of the employees have already left for the training and more will be going in coming months, she said.

After the claims are handled in India, Benjamin said they will be returned to the United States, where checks for customers will be cut.

Asked about the possibility of additional outsourcing, Benjamin said, "We’re always looking for ways to improve our operation. This decision with Cognizant was researched intensely over a long period of time about what made the most sense for our customers and for us."

"Cognizant works with many large insurance companies across the United States," Benjamin said. "This is their area of expertise. After thorough research, we determined we also wanted to work with them."

None of the jobs that were transferred overseas involved fielding customers’ questions, Benjamin said. Member calls to Regence will continue to be handled by employees in the United States.

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