Payers

UnitedHealth Group is paying over $3.3 billion in relief programs for care providers

While Change Healthcare works to get back up and running, UnitedHealth Group is aiding care providers affected by the cyberattack.
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UnitedHealth Group has paid $3.3+ billion to care providers affected by the Change Healthcare cyberattack as of March 27, according to the insurer—but if you’re worried about there being no such thing as a free lunch, you’re right.

The cyberattack on February 21 left many hospitals and providers across the US unable to fill prescriptions or process insurance claims as Change systems went offline. According to a survey from the American Hospital Association in early March, 94% of hospitals suffered financial effects due to the attack, more than half reported “significant or serious” impacts, and 74% of hospitals reported a direct hit to patient care.

Through its temporary funding assistance program, UnitedHealth Group is offering short-term assistance to providers experiencing financial problems through Optum Pay until the worst is over. Eligible providers include those who were connected to payers through Change systems or who work with payers that don’t offer advance payments. UnitedHealthcare medical, dental, and vision providers are also eligible, according to Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that provides technology and pharmacy services.

The amount of funding is based on the difference between the number of weekly claims pre- and post-cyberattack, per Optum.

Additionally, providers are expected to pay back the funds they receive through the assistance program—but not until all operations and claims processes return to normal, according to Optum. There will be a 45-day repayment period once operations resume functioning, though, and there aren’t any “fees, interest, or other associated costs” for providers who access that funding.

In another update, Optum stated that Change’s claims and remittance management service is “currently processing batch claims,” with 1,151 health plans reinstated to the management service and counting.

Navigate the healthcare industry

Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.