Our friend Tom Philpott reported this week that the Government Accountability Office has denied TriWest’s protest challenging the award of a new $20.4 billion regional support contract to UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Services.
Background: In March of this year TriWest had issued a statement citing several reasons why they felt that awarding the contract to UnitedHealth Group was inappropriate.
Here are some of the reasons cited in TriWest’s March press release:
- “…United’s extensive track record of problems with consumers, providers, beneficiaries and government enforcement agencies.”
- TriWest’s price was significantly lower than UnitedHealth Group’s price.
- Making the change will cause a disruption in services and will cost the “taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
- The government disregarded hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare cost savings through discounts guaranteed by TriWest.
- UnitedHealth Group has no experience providing military health care. TriWest has been providing excellence in military health care for 16 years.
Despite TriWest’s media campaign and lobbying efforts, GAO said its review showed that the bid evaluation process was reasonable. TriWest’s protest was denied on all counts.
This means that after 16 years of dealing with TriWest Healthcare Alliance, nearly 3 million TRICARE beneficiaries living in the western states will have a new regional contractor starting in April 2013.