The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has told Humana Military Healthcare Services that the GAO will uphold a decision awarding a major U.S. Defense Department TRICARE management contract to Humana.

Humana Military, a unit of Humana Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE:HUM), has been competing with a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn. (NYSE:UNH), for the TRICARE Southsoldiers region contract.

The administrator for the region could end up managing care for 3 million veterans, military dependents and active-duty military personnel receiving care away from military and veterans facilities for about 6 years.

Humana Military has had the old contract for the region. The new contract is set to start April 1, 2012.

The TRICARE Management Activity, the Defense Department agency in charge of the contract, awarded the new contract for the region to Humana Military in February. The UnitedHealth unit filed a protest with the GAO in March.

GAO officials have told Humana that GAO will be upholding the TRICARE Management Activity decision, Humana says.

UnitedHealth says it plans to continue to try to win the South Region contract. The company also is competing for the West region TRICARE contract.

The TRICARE South region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, part of Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and most of Texas. – Allison Bell

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