PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

UnitedHealth Reports Processing Issues at Change Healthcare

Change Healthcare’s troubles are apparently not over.

The company, which is owned by UnitedHealth, said Thursday (April 18) it had fixed an issue that had hindered medical claims processing for some customers, per a report by Reuters.

According to that report, a fix had been found and was being monitored to make sure it worked. A spokesperson told Reuters that the incident may have affected “a small subset and customers may have already been communicated,” and that the company will provide additional information if and when it becomes available.

Reuters said it was unclear if this incident was related to the massive hack in February that disrupted hospitals and pharmacies around the country. UnitedHealth said this week that the hack had cost it $872 million, and it expects a hit of nearly twice that amount this year.

The company said on its recent earnings call that it is still working on restoring the impacted Change Healthcare services, and has provided more than $6 billion in funding and interest-free loans to help care providers affected by the breach.

On the call, CEO Andrew Witty said the response to the cyberattack was an “extraordinary example” of his company’s resources.

“And frankly, the support of many of the biggest companies across America in the tech environment coming in to help recover from this particular attack, which was straight out an attack on the U.S. Health system and designed to create maximum damage,” he said. “I think we’ve got through that very well in terms of the remediation and the build back to functionality.”

The company has said the breach was caused by a ransomware gang known as ALPHV or BlackCat. A second ransomware group said recently it had also gotten past Change Healthcare’s defenses, though a company spokesperson told PYMNTS it had seen no evidence of the breach.

As PYMNTS noted this on Tuesday (April 16), the attack on UnitedHealth offers an example of the way the 21st century’s connected economy opens “many digital doors … for bad actors and cyber adversaries to walk through as they see fit.”

Complicating matters, PYMNTS wrote, is the evolution of attack vectors employed by cybercriminals for their initial compromise.

As PYMNTS Intelligence has found, cybercriminals now have artificial intelligence (AI) methods to combine both legitimate and fraudulent data to get around know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) authentication from account origination as well as credit, lending, payments and trading activities.