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New contractor takes over Tricare West region

Mar. 29, 2013 - 03:41PM   |  
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The Tricare West region will have a new contractor starting Monday.

United Healthcare Military & Veterans Services will assume management of the West region contract on April 1, providing health care services for 2.9 million Tricare beneficiaries.

The transition ends a 17-year run for TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp., which lost the contract in March 2012 after a long series of contract awards and bid protests.

According to United Health officials, the two companies have worked together to make the transition as invisible as possible to affected customers.

“We think they are going to see a seamless transition … we’ve done as much to minimize disruption as possible,” said Bruce Jasurda, vice president for communications with United Healthcare Military & Veterans Services.

More than 95 percent of the health care providers who participated in TriWest’s network have signed on as United Healthcare network providers, Jasurda said, and the company also has expanded the network by 25 percent.

Tricare contract management companies handle all aspects of health care for beneficiaries, from enrollment and claims processing to referrals and managing a network of providers. The estimated worth of the contract is up to $21 billion over five years.

United Healthcare has said it will honor all prior authorizations by TriWest through May 30 and referrals and authorizations for obstetrics care issued before March 31 for the duration of pregnancy and follow-on care, up to 312 days.

Tricare West beneficiaries should have received welcome packets from United Healthcare announcing the transition.

Tricare’s regional office is standing by to assist customers with any questions or problems that pop up, as is United Healthcare, Tricare officials said Friday.

“Beneficiaries can expect to see the continued delivery of quality health care and customer satisfaction,” Tricare spokesman Austin Camacho said.

The transition marks the completion of the third generation of Tricare contract awards. Health Net Federal Services manages Tricare North; Humana Military Healthcare Services manages Tricare South.

According to the Military Officers Association of America, Medicare-eligible retirees and family members also received the packets, although their health care services will continue to be managed by Wisconsin Physicians Services, which manages Tricare for Life in the U.S. and its territories.

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