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UnitedHealth Says a Big Swath Of Patient Data May Have Been Stolen

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(AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

(CTN News) – The UnitedHealthcare website is displayed on a computer screen in New York on Feb. 29, 2024. During the cyberattack on its Change Healthcare business, UnitedHealth claims files containing personal information could have been taken.

According to the company, there are no signs that doctor charts or full medical histories have been released since the attack ended Monday, April 22, 2024.

A cyberattack on UnitedHealth’s Change Healthcare business earlier this year may have compromised files containing personal information on a “substantial number of Americans”.

According to the company, there is no indication that doctor charts or full medical histories were released after the attack. UnitedHealth may not be able to identify and notify affected individuals for several months until their data is analyzed.

Despite UnitedHealth’s claims, some screen shots with protected health information or personally identifiable information were posted for about a week on the dark web, which standard browsers cannot access.

As of yet, no additional files have been published on the internet or dark web, according to the company. A website has been established to answer questions, as well as a call center. However, the company has said it will not be able to provide detailed information about how the change will affect an individual’s data.

Additionally, the company is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to those affected.

An $8 billion deal between UnitedHealth and Change Healthcare closed in 2022 after federal regulators challenged the deal. In an earlier lawsuit filed that year, the U.S. Department of Justice argued that the deal would harm competition by giving one company too much information about health care claims.

As of February, UnitedHealth said a ransomware group had gained access to some of the systems at its Change Healthcare business, which processes and submits insurance claims.

As a result of the attack, payment and claim processing was disrupted across the country, placing a strain on doctor’s offices and health care systems.

Currently, federal civil rights investigators are investigating whether the attack exposed protected health information.

On Monday, UnitedHealth said it was still restoring services disrupted by the attack. As a first priority, it has been focused on restoring those that affect patient access to medication or care.

According to the company, pharmacy services and medical claims have returned to near normal levels. Payments were back to 86% of pre-attack levels.

During its first-quarter earnings report last week, UnitedHealth said that the company has provided advance funding and interest loans to health care providers affected by the attacks worth more than $6 billion.

According to UnitedHealth officials, the company was hit by the cyberattack for $872 million in the first quarter, and that number could grow to about $1.5 billion by the end of the year.

It is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and is one of the country’s largest health insurers. Additionally, it provides care, offers technology services, and runs one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits management companies.

The company’s stock fell nearly $3 to $488.36 in midday trading Tuesday as broader indexes rallied.

Associated Press. Copyright 2024. This is a reserved right. Reproduction, broadcast, rewriting, or redistribution of this material is prohibited.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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