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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 637-04
July 06, 2004

DoD Tricare Regional Transitions Continue

The Department of Defense (DoD) today announced the continuation of its transformation to new military healthcare contractors and changes in regional areas of responsibility. On July 1, 2004, more than 1 million Tricare-eligible beneficiaries in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and the Yuma, Ariz., area, transitioned to the new West Region. These beneficiaries join with beneficiaries in Oregon, Washington state and northern Idaho who transitioned on June 1. The Tricare West Region contractor is TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp.

In this phase of Tricare transitions, beneficiaries in Illinois, Indiana, portions of Iowa (Rock Island Arsenal area), Kentucky, Michigan, portions of Missouri (St. Louis area), North Carolina, Ohio, portions of Tennessee (Ft. Campbell area), southern Virginia, western West Virginia and Wisconsin, become part of the new Tricare North Region. Beneficiaries in this region will receive health services and support through their new regional contractor, Health Net Federal Services, Inc. (HNFS).

Tricare benefits, costs and the enrollment process remain the same under the new regional contracts, and beneficiaries in the North and West Regions, who are not currently enrolled in Tricare Prime but who are eligible, will have the opportunity to enroll. Additionally, the new regional contractors will provide beneficiaries information on enrollment, network providers, procedures for filing claims and contacts for Tricare assistance within their regions.

Importantly, military treatment facilities (MTFs) in all regions remain at the core of the military health system and will now schedule appointments for their beneficiaries. MTF locations are on the Tricare Web site at http://www.Tricare.osd.mil/mtf/ .

This next generation of Tricare contracts consists of a suite of services, awarded competitively, to provide beneficiaries with the highest quality of care, a higher level of customer service and added value in all aspects of the world-class Tricare benefit. These new contracts are making a strong program better, building on the best aspects of a system developed over the last 10 years, and providing a system of incentives for improvements in quality care, access and claims payments for the militarys 8.9 million Tricare beneficiaries. In addition to three regional contracts for health services and support, the department awarded specific 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 programs, information services, national quality monitoring, and claims processing for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries.

Health Net Federal Services, Inc. (HNFS), a government operations division of Health Net, Inc., based in Sacramento, Calif., will provide healthcare services and support to the approximately 2.85 million beneficiaries in the new Tricare North Region. Beneficiaries in the new North Region may access health care information by calling Health Net at(877) Tricare, (877) 874-2273, or online at http://www.healthnetfederalservices.com/ . In the next phase of the transition, the remaining areas in new North Region -- Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., and eastern West Virginia -- will complete the North Region transition on Sept. 1.

TriWest Healthcare Alliance is a Phoenix-based corporation that supports 2.7 million Tricare beneficiaries in the new Tricare West Region. Beneficiaries in the West Region may access health information by calling (888) TRIWEST, (888) 874-9378, or online at http://www.triwest.com/ . Beneficiaries in the remaining portion of Arizona, Colorado, southern Idaho, portions of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, portions of Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, western Texas, Utah and Wyoming will complete the West region transition to TriWest on Oct. 1.

For more information on the contracts and the transition schedule, visit the Tricare Web site at http://www.Tricare.osd.mil/contractsimplementation/default.cfm. Beneficiaries may access information on the Tricare benefit on the Tricare Web site at http://www.tricare.osd.mil/ . For additional information, beneficiaries may visit Tricare online, http://www.tricareonline.com/, or consult their service and/or local MTF.