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UnitedHealth Wins $20.46 Bln DoD Contract

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U.S. Department of Defense, or DoD has awarded UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH: Quote) a contract, worth more than $20 billion, to provide managed care support to DoD's Tricare program, which was earlier held by TriWest Healthcare Alliance. The contract includes about 10-month base period and five one-year option periods for health care delivery, plus a transition-out period.

UnitedHealth is replacing the TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which had managed the 21-state TRICARE West Region for the Department of Defense for many years. The contract had been held since 2009 by the TriWest Alliance, which comprised nonprofit insurers and university hospital systems.

The West Region contractor will assist the Military Health System in operating an integrated health care delivery system combining the resources of the contractor and the military's direct medical care system, DoD stated.

The TRICARE West Region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, western Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

David McIntyre Jr., TriWest's president and chief executive, said the health-care provider was "disappointed that the Department of Defense chose to reverse their decision."

Consistent with federal regulations, TriWest expects to learn more about the government's decision in an upcoming debriefing. At this time, we will seek to ascertain whether it was appropriate and fair, and to determine our future course of action.

UnitedHealth Shares closed Friday at $55.59 on the New York Stock Exchange, were 3.02 percent higher at $57.27 in after hours trading.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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