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Cyberattack Paralyzes the Largest U.S. Health Care Payment System

March 11, 2024
New York Times
Contributed by: Drex DeFord
Summary
Medical care providers across the United States, ranging from urgent care chains to primary care physicians, are facing significant financial difficulties following a cyberattack that disrupted the country's largest medical billing and payment system, operated by Change Healthcare, a unit of UnitedHealth Group. This attack, which occurred two weeks ago, has left hundreds of providers unable to process insurance approvals and payments for services, leading to a cash squeeze that threatens their operations. In response, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced measures to alleviate financial pressures, including allowing Medicare reimbursements and urging health insurers to relax prior authorization rules. Despite these efforts, it is unclear whether these measures will fully bridge the operational and financial gaps caused by the still-offline services of Change Healthcare, a critical digital intermediary in the healthcare system.
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