UnitedHealth Attack: Hospitals Lose Millions Per Day

Last week, a cyberattack on a UnitedHealth Group division disrupted medication distribution and insurance processes in pharmacies across the United States, causing significant challenges for healthcare workers. Experts warn that the incident could lead to substantial financial losses.

Maryland psychotherapist Raeya Disney is concerned about potentially having to abandon her practice if the billing disruptions persist. Disney stated she has begun invoicing manually, hoping her patients will compensate her (as doctor services are covered by insurance policies).

Chinese cyber-espionage

Due to the incident, medical facilities are experiencing increased strain on doctors and pharmacies as they seek alternative methods for filing insurance claims.

The attack targeted Change Healthcare, a subsidiary of healthcare giant UnitedHealth, which processes insurance prescriptions for thousands of pharmacies nationwide. Cybersecurity firm Health First Advisory reported that some medical institutions are losing over $100 million a day due to the disruption.

Elevance Health, an insurance company, has severed network connections to Change Healthcare for security reasons but assures that access to medical care and medications for clients remains unaffected.

In response to the incident, Change Healthcare announced it is working on alternative claim submission methods to minimize the impact on doctors and patients. Despite this, many healthcare professionals continue to face difficulties adapting to the new situation.

The American Hospital Association reports ongoing issues with processing insurance claims among its clients, highlighting the attack’s widespread and serious impact on the entire U.S. healthcare system.

The FBI and the Department of Health are concerned about the situation. Preliminary investigation results suggest the involvement of hackers using the ALPHV/BlackCat ransomware, which operates on a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model.

Recall that the cyberattack on a UnitedHealth Group Inc. division caused a system failure used for data transmission between medical institutions and insurance companies, resulting in medication distribution disruptions in some pharmacies.