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UnitedHealth Group Addresses Cyberattack Aftermath with $2 Billion in Provider Support

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 20, 2024
UnitedHealth Group Addresses Cyberattack Aftermath with $2 Billion in Provider Support

UnitedHealth Group has announced the disbursement of over $2 billion in financial advances to healthcare providers hit by a cyberattack on its subsidiary, Change Healthcare. This move comes nearly a month after the cyber incident was first disclosed.

The cyberattack on Change Healthcare, known for its essential healthcare software solutions including e-prescription and payment management tools, has caused widespread disruption across the United States healthcare system. Many healthcare providers found themselves unable to process prescriptions or receive timely reimbursements from insurers, putting a strain on their operations.

In response, UnitedHealth Group has been actively working to restore the affected services. Andrew Witty, CEO of UnitedHealth, emphasized the company’s progress in a recent press release, stating, “We continue to make significant progress in restoring the services impacted by this cyberattack.” He acknowledged the challenges faced by healthcare providers and encouraged those in need to reach out for support.

How UnitedHealth Group Supports Affected Providers?

As part of its recovery efforts, UnitedHealth Group has initiated the release of medical claims preparation software, aimed at aiding thousands of its customers over the coming days. This software release is described as a crucial step towards resuming normal service operations.

In addition to software solutions, UnitedHealth Group reported on Friday that it had successfully restored Change Healthcare’s electronic payments platform. This follows the earlier revival of 99% of its pharmacy network services. The company has also introduced a temporary funding assistance program designed to alleviate cash flow issues for healthcare providers affected by the cyberattack.

Importantly, UnitedHealth Group has stated that the advances provided to healthcare providers will not require repayment until claims processing returns to its standard pace. This approach is complemented by additional measures from federal agencies, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which are offering interim payment options to ensure providers can maintain operations.

The Economic Impact of the Cyberattack

The financial toll of the cyberattack on healthcare providers has been substantial, as highlighted in a survey by the American Hospital Association. Conducted between March 9 and March 12, the survey revealed that 94% of hospitals reported financial disruptions, with over 60% estimating losses of approximately $1 million per day.

The American Hospital Association has called for more robust support from Congress and the Administration to help providers navigate the aftermath of what has been described as a historic attack. Furthermore, the Biden administration has launched an investigation into the incident, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. This investigation aims to assess compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s rules, which safeguard health information.

While UnitedHealth Group has been actively engaged with law enforcement and cybersecurity experts from Palo Alto Networks and Google Cloud’s Mandiant to evaluate the breach, the specific nature of the data compromised remains undisclosed. The company has not commented on whether it engaged with the cyber threat actor to restore its systems.

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Featured Image courtesy of Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy Stock Photo

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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