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ARTICLE Department of Defense Sustains UnitedHealthcare Protest on TRICARE West Region Contract

MINNETONKA, Minn. (April 7, 2011) – The Department of Defense (DoD) has sustained a protest by UnitedHealthcare's Military & Veterans business and will undertake corrective action regarding the TRICARE West Region contract award. The DoD has indicated that it will update its solicitation for the contract and invite updated proposals. The decision pertains to the July 2009 award of the TRICARE West Region contract to the incumbent administrator.


"While we welcome DoD's decision to uphold our protest, we hope the Department will keep TRICARE beneficiaries foremost in mind as the process moves forward – and not use the resolicitation as a means to request drastic, guaranteed cuts to provider reimbursements," said Lori McDougal, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans. "Such a course would invite a race to the bottom, compromising access to quality, affordable care for members of the military and their families."


This action is distinct from the TRICARE South Region contract award, which remains under protest by UnitedHealthcare. In the South Region, DoD requested substantial guaranteed discounts going forward in what doctors and hospitals would be paid in the South Region network. These terms could ultimately harm the TRICARE South Region health care system and put access to quality, affordable care for TRICARE beneficiaries in the South at risk.


"We continue to maintain that in both the West and the South, UnitedHealthcare was the superior bidder on value, innovation and quality," McDougal said. "We will aggressively pursue all administrative and legal options open to us in our mission to serve the health care needs of the military community. As the nation's largest provider of high quality, personalized health care programs, we bring with us the innovation we are known for in developing new, practical and financially responsible ways to make health care more accessible and affordable. We will bring those same strengths and capabilities to military families."


The TRICARE system administers health care plans for 9.6 million beneficiaries worldwide as a vital supplement to the military health system. The West Region, one of three TRICARE regions, provides health benefits to more than 2.7 million active and retired members of the uniformed services and their families in 21 western states including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the western portion of Texas covering El Paso and Fort Bliss.


UnitedHealthcare is the nation's largest managed care organization of high quality, personalized public sector health care programs, serving 3.3 million people in the Medicaid, Medicare and Children's Health programs in 23 states and the District of Columbia.


About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through six operating businesses: UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual; UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement; UnitedHealthcare Community & State; OptumHealth; Ingenix; and Prescription Solutions. Through its family of businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million individuals worldwide. UnitedHealth Military & Veterans is a UnitedHealth Group company whose mission is to provide innovative, high quality and affordable healthcare solutions in partnership with government health programs.