With New TRICARE Pacts, Defense Dept. Pledges to Learn From Past Contractor Squabbles

Right before the holidays, the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD) offered a gift to Humana Inc., renewing its contract to manage health care services for TRICARE beneficiaries via a new $70.9 billion pact that begins in 2024. Yet Centene Corp. received an unwelcome surprise when it learned that its current TRICARE contract will expire at the end of 2023 and then move to a company called TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

Meanwhile, the new contracts appear aimed at addressing troubles that have dogged the military health care program in the past, such as rocky contractor transitions and concerns about continuity of care for families that change locations much more often than their civilian counterparts. In addition to active-duty service members and their families, TRICARE serves retirees and their families, survivors, and certain former spouses.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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