TriWest gives up fight to keep Tricare contract

Air Force Times | July 13, 2012
By Patricia Kime – Staff writer

TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the company that managed the Tricare West Region contract for 16 years, has decided to throw in the towel.

The company, which lost the contract to UnitedHealth Group earlier this year and learned last week that the Government Accountability Office upheld that contract award, announced Friday that it will not continue fighting the decision.

The company could have filed suit in U.S. Court of Federal Claims, but in a statement, company officials said they decided that “would not bring an end to the uncertainty that has plagued this program for three years and will only drive up the costs for all involved.”

In their farewell, TriWest officials said the company has been honored to serve military personnel, families and retirees who “humble us with your sacrifice.”

“Our greatest privilege these past 16 years has been to serve those who wear or have worn the uniforms of the United States and their families. “One thing is certain: We are committed to fulfilling all transition requirements through the end of our current contract on March 31.”

TriWest won the contract when it initially was put up for bid in 2009, but after UnitedHealth lost an opportunity to manage a different Tricare region, the government reopened the bidding process in the West Region and UnitedHealth won.

TriWest is a consortium of 17 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies and university health systems that manage health networks in 21 states.

During its corporate history, the company donated nearly $75 million to military support organizations, including the USO, Fisher House, Armed Services YMCA and others.