UnitedHealth's $20B Tricare contract challenged

TriWest has appealed the defense department's decision to give UnitedHealth the $20 billion Tricare contract it has held for the last 16 years, calling the contract evaluation process "flawed and unfair."

The Arizona-based insurer filed its protest Monday after meeting with Department of Defense officials, who left TriWest feeling "deeply troubled about the process and the government decision," CEO David McIntyre Jr. said, reported the Arizona Republic.

The primary point of contentions are TriWest's claims that its bid was hundreds of millions of dollars lower than UnitedHealth's and the defense department didn't account for transition risks and potential coverage changes for Tricare members, Reuters reported.

Plus, McIntyre added, UnitedHealth has a long history of performance problems and legal issues but no history of providing military healthcare.

In response to TriWest's challenge, UnitedHealth said the insurer's accusations were "ungrounded" and called its behavior "unfortunate," spokesman Matt Stearns told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "It's important to remember that competition for these contracts is essential to achieving best value for the government, taxpayers and beneficiaries," he added.

The Government Accountability Office will review TriWest's challenge and is expected to make a decision by July, noted the Republic.

To learn more:
- read the Reuters article
- check out the Arizona Republic article
- read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune article