UnitedHealth alleges Change Healthcare hacked by nation state, causing ongoing pharmacy outages.


U.S. health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group revealed that its subsidiary Change Healthcare was the victim of a cyberattack likely perpetrated by government-backed hackers. The ongoing cybersecurity incident affecting Change Healthcare began early Wednesday, although the company has not yet disclosed the specific nature of the cyberattack. As a result of the cyberattack, several pharmacies across the U.S. are reporting that they are unable to fulfill prescriptions through patients’ insurance due to the ongoing outage at Change Healthcare, which handles much of the billing process.

The cyberattack is believed to have been carried out by suspected nation state hackers, although UHG did not attribute the cyberattack to a specific nation or government, nor did it cite any evidence to support its claim. Change Healthcare provides vital patient billing services across the U.S. healthcare system, processing billions of healthcare transactions annually, and handling around one-in-three U.S. patient records, which amounts to approximately a hundred million Americans. Despite the ongoing incident, UHG has retained leading security experts, is working with law enforcement, and has notified customers, clients, and certain government agencies, but has not provided a timeframe for when its systems will be back online.

The cyberattack is having widespread repercussions within the healthcare industry, as professionals in the sector are experiencing downtime because of the outage. Change Healthcare’s billing process handles a significant portion of the healthcare transactions in the U.S., and the fact that pharmacies are unable to fulfill prescriptions through patients’ insurance due to the ongoing outage is a cause for concern. The sophisticated nature of the cyberattack has raised significant alarm, prompting UHG to take necessary measures to address and mitigate the situation.

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