UnitedHealthcare Data Breach

UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest healthcare networks in the US, overseeing the operations of Change Healthcare, the nation’s largest medical claims processor. Change Healthcare provides a payment cycle management system connecting patients, providers, billers, and payers. Headquartered in Tennessee, the provider serves 50% of all US medical payment and billing instances. Change Healthcare’s systems were breached in February—exposing a significant chunk of America’s patient data.

What Was the Breach?

  • Personally Identifiable Information 
  • Protected Health Information
  • Unconfirmed Impacts to Patients

How Did the Breach Occur?

According to the statement published by UnitedHealth, an unauthorized actor breached the medical claims software run by Change Healthcare. The press release statements about the event offer little information about how the assailants made the attack possible; however, some sources have suggested that officials paid a ransom to keep patient data safe. There may be some credit to these claims, as UnitedHealth’s statement mentions 22 screenshots, allegedly from stolen files, getting listed on the dark web

When Did This Breach Occur?

The details published for this event suggest the incident happened in February, although UnitedHealth does not substantiate specific dates; consequently, it is unclear when and how officials discovered the threat within their systems. A press release following the initial incident report suggests Change Healthcare had system disruptions restored in the early weeks of March. 

Who Does the Breach Impact?

Investigations into the breach have only begun, and there is much to discover about the attack and its subsequent consequences. The incident is expected to impact patients within the Change Healthcare system, but there are no indications of particular demographics or groups.

How Many Files Does the Breach Affect?

Officials do not know how many people this event may have exposed. Millions may have had their health and identity information compromised, but until the investigations conclude, officials cannot provide an impact figure. Officials suggest patients consider account monitoring, credit alerts, and identity fraud protection.

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