Mar 20, 2024 - Health

UnitedHealth faces growing legal headaches from cyberattack

Illustration of hand with gavel breaking a red cross symbol.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

UnitedHealth Group is facing growing class-action lawsuits from health care providers over financial losses they say they've suffered from a massive cyberattack that's crippled payments across the industry for weeks.

Why it matters: It adds to the potential legal fallout for UnitedHealth over the attack at subsidiary Change Healthcare, as it also faces a federal investigation and patient lawsuits over breached data and trouble filling prescriptions.

Between the lines: A class-action lawsuit on behalf of a California therapy group filed this week alleges the companies failed "to maintain appropriate and reasonable cybersecurity measures."

  • The practice is seeking restitution on behalf of a class of affected providers and an injunction ordering Change Healthcare to improve its cybersecurity practices.
  • A Mississippi OB-GYN practice in a separate class-action suit alleges the disruption threatens to bankrupt them, per BankInfoSecurity.com.
  • Another from a Tennessee therapist accuses the companies, including Change Healthcare parent Optum, of negligence and breach of implied contract, Law.com reported.

The other side: UnitedHealth this week said it's advanced more than $2 billion to providers as it works to restore operations.

  • While hackers claimed to have stolen millions of patients' private medical information, UnitedHealth said it's still investigating how much data may have been compromised.
  • Asked about the lawsuits, a UnitedHealth spokesperson said: "Our focus remains on the investigation and restoring operations at Change Healthcare."
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