The Defense Department has moved to re-start the bidding process for a lucrative military health benefits contract, sustaining a protest by UnitedHealth Group.
Military to re-start bidding for benefits contract
Tricare Management Activity, which oversees healthcare for active duty military, retirees and their families, awarded the West region contract to TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp., a Phoenix-based consortium of not-for-profit insurers and university hospital systems, in July 2009. But UnitedHealth Group protested the decision, saying the process was flawed. The West contract covers more than 2.7 million active-duty and retired military and their families in ">21 Western states
">21 Western states. The contract of five one-year option periods is valued at $16 billion.
In a statement, Tricare said so much time has passed since the award that it has decided to allow insurers to submit updated proposals. Tricare will make a decision on the fresh bids later this year.
UnitedHealthcare's Military & Veterans business, a division of UnitedHealth Group, is also protesting Tricare's recent decision to reverse course and award a contract for the South region to rival Humana. A final decision on that contract is expected in June.
“We continue to maintain that in both the West and the South, UnitedHealthcare was the superior bidder on value, innovation and quality,” said Lori McDougal, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans, in a statement.
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