Medical tech company hacked, billions of records compromised. Stay informed.

March 8, 2024
1 min read

Summary of UnitedHealth Cyberattack

TLDR: UnitedHealth cyberattack disrupts billing, security

Key Points:

  • Change Healthcare, a property of UnitedHealth Group, experienced a massive data hack disrupting operations for the company that processes 15 billion health-related transactions a year.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urged insurers to take immediate steps to ease the digital logjam caused by the cyberattack, including waiving prior authorizations and accepting paper bills from doctors and hospitals.

A medical tech company that handles billions of records, Change Healthcare, which is owned by UnitedHealth Group, was hacked by a ransomware group known as ALPHV or Blackcat. This attack disrupted billing and care authorization systems nationwide. As a response to the cyberattack, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken steps to address the issues faced by doctors, hospitals, and patients.

Some key steps taken by HHS include:

  • Advising Medicare health plans to remove or relax requirements such as prior authorizations for medical tests and procedures.
  • Asking private contractors who serve Medicare to accept paper claims from medical providers.
  • Inviting hospitals facing significant cash flow problems to request accelerated payments from Medicare contractors.

Last year, about 1 in 3 Americans were affected by health-related data breaches, and the number of attacks targeting health providers and their vendors has been increasing. The cyberattack on Change Healthcare is a reminder of the vulnerability of the healthcare industry to cyber threats.

While the actions taken by HHS are seen as a positive first step, organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association have raised concerns about the financial impact of the cyberattack on medical practices and hospitals. The need for increased cybersecurity measures in the healthcare industry is evident in light of this recent data breach.

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