PYMNTS Intelligence Alternate Banner June 2024

Report: White House Urges UnitedHealth to Accelerate Payments to Providers

UnitedHealthcare building

White House officials reportedly met with UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty and other health insurers to urge them to accelerate their payments to healthcare providers.

During the remote meeting, Biden administration officials and healthcare providers, who also attended the meeting, said that unpaid medical bills have been piling up since UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Change Healthcare was knocked offline by a Feb. 21 cyberattack, The Washington Post reported Tuesday (March 12), citing unnamed sources. 

The officials and healthcare providers urged the company to make more emergency funding available to providers, noting that UnitedHealth has been collecting premiums from patients but not paying healthcare providers due to the impact of the cyberattack, according to the report.

UnitedHealth Group did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

Change Healthcare is the nation’s largest processor of medical claims, acting as a middleman on payments to tens of thousands of healthcare providers, according to the report. The firm has been offline since the Feb. 21 cyberattack. 

While White House officials have urged the company to speed up its payments to these providers, they do not have the statutory authority to compel it to do so, the report said. 

This report comes after the Sunday (March 10) release of an open letter in which White House officials urged UnitedHealth to take steps to help providers, such as ensuring “expedited delivery of funds to impacted providers for all receiving advance payment” from UnitedHealth and communicating “more frequently and more transparently, both within the health care community and with state Medicaid agencies.”

The letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Labor also urged insurers to make interim payments to affected providers.

It was reported Wednesday (March 6) that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the HHS, announced measures to expedite Medicare and Medicaid payments to the healthcare services that have been affected.

CMS outlined a process for hospitals to request accelerated payments and encouraged Medicare Advantage plans to offer advance funding to the providers that have been most severely hit by the disruption at Change Healthcare.