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Embattled UnitedHealth changes leadership of its military unit

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UnitedHealth Group has named a new president of its military and veterans unit amid ongoing Pentagon complaints about delays in medical care for military families.

As Bloomberg reports, the complaints began almost immediately after Twin Cities-based UnitedHealth's $20.5 billion contract with the Defense Department kicked in on April 1. Now the company has named former Pentagon comptroller Tina Jonas to lead the unit.

The Star Tribune reports UnitedHealth's vice-president of communications would not say if the change resulted from the problems with the Defense Department program, which is known as Tricare.

The complaints have centered on delays in getting patients referrals to medical specialists. Last month the Pentagon took the emergency step of letting primary care doctors refer patients directly to specialists without a review from UnitedHealth, which is the nation's largest health insurer.

A Tricare spokesman also indicated last month that the program may seek a reimbursement from UnitedHealth over the problems.

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