Health insurer Aetna Inc (AET.N) said on Wednesday it has been disqualified from a multibillion-dollar contract to provide services under a U.S. Defense Department health care plan.
The contract, covering the northern region of the department's TRICARE program, was awarded to the current provider, Health Net Inc (HNT.N), which argued that Aetna had an unfair advantage because it had hired a TRICARE insider.
The $2.8 billion contract includes five one-year renewal options for a total potential value of nearly $17 billion.
"We believe we acted appropriately throughout the procurement process and that no nonpublic information was ever used in preparing the bid," Susan Peters, president of Aetna's government health plans, said in a statement.
COMMENT: Under Guam Procurement Law (and this is speaking generally), it is a breach of ethical standards for a present or former (1 year) government employee to act as an agent for a bidder. It is not clear that such action would be a violation of the employer/bidder, although it is a violation to induce an employee to breach ethical standards. Remedies assessable against the non-employee could include termination of any transaction as well as suspension or debarment.