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UnitedHealth Reports Extensive Patient Data Potentially Compromised in Change Cyberattack

Written by : Jayati Dubey

April 24, 2024

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UnitedHealth is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to individuals affected by the breach.

UnitedHealth, a leading health insurance and healthcare services provider, disclosed that a cyberattack earlier this year targeted its Change Healthcare business, potentially compromising the personal information of a significant number of individuals across America.

The company shared this information on Monday after the markets closed, highlighting its ongoing efforts to address the breach and mitigate its impact.

According to UnitedHealth, the cyberattack may have resulted in the unauthorized access of files containing personal information, which could affect a substantial portion of the American population.

While there are no indications that complete medical histories or doctor charts were compromised, the company acknowledges that it may take several months to fully identify and notify affected individuals.

The company revealed that certain screenshots containing protected health information or personally identifiable information were posted online for approximately a week on the dark web, inaccessible to standard browsers.

UnitedHealth is actively monitoring online platforms and has not detected any additional file publications since the initial incident. To address concerns and provide support, the company has established a dedicated website and call center.

Response & Support Measures

In response to the cyberattack, UnitedHealth is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to individuals affected by the breach.

Additionally, the company is diligently working to restore disrupted services, prioritizing those essential for patient access to care and medication.

Pharmacy services and medical claims processing have returned to near-normal levels, with payment processes operating at approximately 86% of pre-attack levels.

Financial Impact & Support for Affected Providers

The cyberattack had a significant financial impact on UnitedHealth, resulting in an $872 million hit in the first quarter of the year. Company officials anticipate the total cost for the year to exceed $1.5 billion.

Despite the financial repercussions, UnitedHealth claims to remain committed to supporting healthcare providers affected by the attack. To date, the company has provided over $6 billion in advance funding and interest-free loans to assist impacted providers.

Federal civil rights investigators are currently examining the cyberattack to determine if protected health information was exposed.

Meanwhile, UnitedHealth continues its efforts to restore disrupted services and enhance cybersecurity measures across its operations. The company emphasizes its dedication to safeguarding patient data and ensuring the integrity of its systems.

Headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, UnitedHealth Group. operates as one of the largest health insurers in the United States.

In addition to its insurance services, the company manages a significant pharmacy benefits management business and provides a wide range of healthcare services and technology solutions.

Last month, in response to one of the most severe cyber attacks in the US healthcare sector, White House officials have asked UnitedHealth Group to expedite payments to healthcare providers in an open letter.

The officials urged UnitedHealth to assume responsibility to ensure that no provider faces compromised cash flow challenges resulting from the cyberattack on Change Healthcare.

While the letter specifically singled out UnitedHealth and addressed the recent breach, it also implored other companies within the industry to lend their assistance.


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