A large insurer is looking into the possibility of participating in the U.S. Defense Department’s TRICARE health plan.

Aetna Inc., Hartford, has appointed 2 Aetna executives and 6 external members to a new military health care advisory committee.

The committee, which includes representatives who have served in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force – and a military spouse – will help Aetna look at ways to do more business with the federal government and to evaluate “a potential bid” for the TRICARE program, Aetna says.

The TRICARE program is the health plan for military personnel, retirees and dependents who get care away from military medical facilities.

Aetna participated in CHAMPUS, a health plan the military used before Congress set up TRICARE, back in the mid-1980s, Aetna says.

Aetna now provides health coverage for 305,000 members of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and dental coverage for 80,000 federal plan enrollees, the company says.