Pentagon Says UnitedHealth May Have to Pay for Contract Blunder

The U.S. Defense Department may ask UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) to reimburse the government after military families experienced long delays getting medical-care referrals.

Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest insurer, took over a $20.5 billion contract from TriWest Healthcare Alliance Corp. on April 1.

The contract includes “provisions for the recovery of costs due to poor performance,” said Austin Camacho, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s health-care system, known as Tricare. The government will consider seeking reimbursement from UnitedHealth, he said in an e-mail today.

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