UnitedHealthcare to take over Tricare West

UnitedHealthcare has been awarded a contract after a challenge to take over military health care for the Western US. The $20 billion contract was originally awarded to TriWest Healthcare Alliance of Phoenix, Ariz., but reversed the decision in March after the challenge from UnitedHealthcare.

The contract which will start next April is for 2.9 million active duty and retired military personnel and their families. Milmitary personnel and their families are covered under a military issued plan called TRICARE, the slate of benefits services is co-managed by the military and private sector health insurers. Services are divided regionally, between insurers. UnitedHealthcare will transition services from the incumbent insurance provider – TriWest – and provide insurance benefits for TRICARE over the next five years.

The company has been working to get into the military health care market since last year when it sued to get the southern region of TRICARE but lost to Humana. TriWest may find themselves out of business with the loss of the contract as military coverage accounts for most of their policyholiders.

“We are committed to working with the Department of Defense to ensure beneficiaries have access to cost-effective, quality and innovative care,” said Lori C. McDougal, CEO of UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Services.