November 18, 2016
This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a statement denying all bid protests of TRICARE's next round of contracts, known as “T-2017.”
Although the full report is not out yet, this announcement allows the DoD to move ahead with its plan to consolidate its existing three TRICARE regions into two.
These will consist of the East and the West regions, with the East region the most heavily populated by beneficiaries.
The two new 2017 TRICARE contracts will be administered over five years, and are worth an estimated $58 billion. The original winners of the bids, HealthNet Federal Services for the West, and Humana for the East, are now able to move forward with their transition plans.
The new contractors will be aiming for implementation in late summer or early fall of 2017. But DoD is planning for a longer transition period, designed to be more seamless for beneficiaries.
The new contracts include several new changes to improve beneficiary access, quality, and safety of care.
For example, in large TRICARE market areas there will now be case management liaisons between military treatment facilities and civilian purchased care. Also, there will be electronic notification of referrals which beneficiaries can track online - a huge improvement over paper and faxed referrals.
Many new quality improvement measures should result in better care for TRICARE's 9.2 million beneficiaries.
In the meantime, the GAO denial isn't necessarily the end of the line if unsuccessful contract bidders want to pursue legal action in the courts.
MOAA will keep you informed of further developments.
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