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UnitedHealth Suffered $872 Mn Hit to Profit Following Change Healthcare Cyberattack

Written by : Aishwarya Sarthe

April 18, 2024

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The conglomerate expects the cyber intrusion fallout to persist, potentially impacting profits by up to $1.35 per share this year.

UnitedHealth Group, a prominent player in the healthcare sector, disclosed a significant blow to its first-quarter profit, tallying a staggering $872 million loss attributable to disruptions stemming from the cyberattack on its subsidiary, Change Healthcare.

In a statement released by the conglomerate, it revealed that the fallout from the cyber intrusion is expected to continue affecting profits, with estimates projecting a potential impact of up to $1.35 per share throughout the year.

The repercussions of the cyberattack rippled across various facets of the healthcare ecosystem, causing disruptions in services at pharmacies, hospitals, doctors' offices, and other healthcare providers, as well as community health centers across the United States.

UnitedHealth's response to the crisis included the provision of advanced funding exceeding $6 billion to specific healthcare providers. 

While some significant services have resumed operations, a substantial number of entities within the healthcare landscape still grapple with the aftermath of the outage.

Financial Ramifications

The conglomerate's financial report for the quarter revealed a net loss of $1.53 per share, primarily attributed to a $7 billion charge associated with the divestiture of its Brazil-based unit, Amil, to entrepreneur Jose Seripieri Filho, the former chief executive of health insurance firm Qualicorp.

Further, UnitedHealth anticipates its net profit for the fiscal year to range between $17.60 and $18.20 per share, factoring in the impact of the Brazil sale alongside the estimated direct response costs incurred in mitigating the cyberattack.

Continued Threats

In a distressing turn of events, reports emerged indicating that Change Healthcare has become ensnared in another ransomware attack perpetrated by a group identified as 'RansomHub.'

The ransomware gang claims to possess stolen data from Change Healthcare. It issued a ransom demand, threatening to auction the data to the highest bidder if their terms are not met within a specified timeframe. The veracity of these claims remains uncertain.

Notably, this incident follows closely on the heels of reports suggesting that a ransom of $22 million was allegedly paid to another hacker group, BlackCat, in response to the earlier cyberattack on Change Healthcare. 

However, the company has neither confirmed nor refuted these claims.

Market Response

Despite the challenges posed by the cyberattack and subsequent developments, UnitedHealth Group experienced a notable surge in its stock price, with shares rising by 4.35% to $465.55 in premarket trading.

The revelations surrounding the financial toll of the cyberattack underscore the pervasive threat posed by cyber intrusions within the healthcare sector, highlighting the imperative for robust cybersecurity measures and swift responses to safeguard critical healthcare infrastructure and data.

The disclosure of the substantial financial impact on UnitedHealth Group underscores the severity of the cyberattack on its subsidiary, underscoring the broader implications for the healthcare industry. 

As the sector grapples with evolving cybersecurity threats, vigilance and proactive measures remain paramount in mitigating risks and safeguarding patient data and healthcare services.


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