White House Urges UnitedHealth to Hasten Payments Post-Hack

In response to a recent cyberattack, the White House has called on UnitedHealth Group to expedite payments to healthcare providers, according to PYMNTS. The attack, which targeted the company’s Change Healthcare business, has prompted concerns about delayed payments to providers.

In an open letter issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor, UnitedHealth was urged to take immediate steps to support providers affected by the attack. These steps include ensuring the swift delivery of funds to impacted providers receiving advance payment from UnitedHealthcare and improving communication within the healthcare community and with state Medicaid agencies.

The letter also called on insurers to make interim payments to affected providers, noting that larger payers have the financial stability to advance payments. It emphasized the importance of collective action, stating, «While we believe payers have a unique responsibility and opportunity to address the challenge before us, we urge action on the part of any healthcare entity that can step up.»

Late last month, UnitedHealth confirmed that its subsidiary Optum had to shut down IT systems and services following the cyberattack on the Change Healthcare platform. The attack, which affected the largest payment exchange platform in the American healthcare system, is expected to disrupt services until mid-March.

Reports have also emerged that UnitedHealth Group paid $22 million to the Blackcat ransomware group to recover compromised data and systems. The attack underscores the vulnerability of digital healthcare systems and the need for robust cybersecurity measures.

In the wake of the attack, there has been renewed focus on digital transformation in the healthcare sector. PYMNTS data shows that consumer interest in unified digital platforms for managing healthcare information and insurance benefits is high across all age groups. This trend, coupled with a wave of modernization in the healthcare sector, highlights the need for proactive measures to enhance cybersecurity and support affected providers.

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