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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 1099-04
November 02, 2004

Tricare Transition Complete

Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, announced today that conversion to the three new Tricare regions and contractors is completed. As beneficiaries in the remaining portion of the new South Region transition to their new regional contractor, Humana Military Healthcare Services Inc., the South Region is completed. This last transition includes beneficiaries in the remaining portion of Arkansas, the remaining portion of Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas except for the far Western part of the state. Beneficiaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee transitioned to the South Region on Aug. 1.

"This event marks the successful completion by the Department of Defense and our contracted health care partners of a major transition to a more advanced Tricare design and operation," said Winkenwerder. "For more than a year, we have worked together to implement the next generation of Tricare. This design introduces an even stronger customer service focus, applies best commercial practices, supports our medical treatment facilities, strengthens relationships with network providers, and more. I am excited about the opportunities this milestone enables as we serve our 9.1 million Tricare beneficiaries."

Humana Military Healthcare Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Humana Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., has worked with DoD as a Tricare regional managed care support contractor since 1996. Humana will provide healthcare services and support to approximately 2.86 million beneficiaries in the South Region. Beneficiaries may access healthcare information by calling Humana at (800) 444-5445 or online at http://www.humana-military.com/. South Region beneficiaries located in Tricare Prime service areas who are eligible for Tricare Prime Remote will have the opportunity to enroll. Humana provides beneficiaries with information on enrollment and network providers; procedures for filing claims; contacts for Tricare assistance; and the ability to view claims processing status and claims history online. Other Web services include locating a Tricare service center (TSC) and Web-based programs allowing beneficiaries to better manage their healthcare.

Military medical facilities in all regions remain at the core of the Military Health System. For specific information on the Tricare benefit, whats covered and how it works, beneficiaries may visit the Tricare Web site http://www.tricare.osd.mil or consult their service or local military medical facility. Beneficiaries may also visit "Tricare Online" at http://www.tricareonline.com for interactive tools and up-to-date, accurate information on general health matters. Tricare Online includes a medical dictionary, the new "Rx Checker," to find drug-and-drug or drug-and-food interactions, an online health journal and more.

The new contracts build on the best aspects of the Tricare program and include incentives for improvements in quality care, access and claims payments. DoD has also awarded contracts for mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, retiree dental care, the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan, Tricare Global Remote Overseas, Tricare healthcare for Puerto Rico, marketing and education materials, centralized customer service, national-quality monitoring, and claims processing for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries. For more information on the contracts, visit the Tricare Web site at http://www.tricare.osd.mil/contractsimplementation/default.cfm .