NU Online News Service, Feb. 22, 11:36 a.m. – Health Net Inc., Los Angeles, says its federal services unit has won a one-year extension on its contract to manage the TRICARE program for a region that includes Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho.

TRICARE is a federal health program that provides major medical coverage for military personnel, retirees and dependents.

Health Net has been handling the northwestern region, which serves 240,000 people, since 1995. The company now has a multi-year contract set to run out in February 2004, but the U.S. Department of Defense has an option to decide each year whether to keep Health Net or fire it.

Health Net’s federal services unit also administers TRICARE programs in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.