TriWest to stop challenge to DoD's TRICARE contract

Friday - 7/13/2012, 7:28pm EDT

By Jolie Lee and Jared Serbu
Federal News Radio

Phoenix-based TriWest Healthcare Alliance will end its challenge to the Defense Department's award of the TRICARE West Region contract.

DoD had originally awarded the $20.6 billion, six-year contract to TriWest but pulled back its decision after UnitedHealth filed an agency- level protest. DoD reawarded the contract, this time to UnitedHealth, in March.

TriWest's announcement comes on the three-year anniversary of the initial award and a few weeks after the Government Accountability Office dismissed TriWest's protest of the award.

"It is with mixed emotions that we make this decision; however, continuing to challenge the government's decision will not bring an end to the uncertainty that has plagued this program for the last three years and will only drive up the costs for all involved," according to a TriWest release.

TriWest is the incumbent managed-care contractor serving military members, retirees and their families in 21 western states that make up one of three regions in the TRICARE system. The DoD contract is the firm's only source of revenue.

Scott Celley, spokesman for TriWest, said it's not clear now what will happen to the company, which has 1,700 employees.

"We're not at a point where we know what the ramifications will be," Celley said.

The company said it is committed to fulfilling the rest of its current contract through March 31, 2013.

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