Four losing bidders have protested the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' award last month of three-year contracts to manage long-term care for Medicaid beneficiaries, the agency said Monday.

Health Partners Plans Inc., a tax-exempt managed-care company based in Philadelphia, said it was waiting for its debriefing by state officials before deciding whether to protest its loss.

The state chose the winners from 14 bidders, though not all were vying to serve the entire state.

Asked about the losses last week at an investor conference, Aetna's chief financial officer, Shawn M. Curtin, said it is hard to explain them. "There's clearly something in the procurement process, or the telling of our story, that we need to do better, because I do think we have a track record," he said.