Military health care carrier hit with $10M fine

By:  Kelly Kennedy

WASHINGTON - One of the Pentagon's major health care contractors, which is fighting to keep its multibillion-dollar contract, recently paid a $10 million fine to the federal government to settle a Justice Department suit over claims the company failed to pass on savings to the military. 

TriWest Healthcare Alliance, a consortium of non-profit groups in the West, is one of three main contractors for Tricare, the Pentagon's health care program. It paid the government in September to settle a case in which four employees claimed the company defrauded the government by keeping savings it generated while working on the contract.

TriWest has held the contract - estimated to be worth about $17 billion over the next five years - since 1996. It is now in the middle of a rebidding process that likely will be settled next month.

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