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UnitedHealth faces potential repercussions from cyber-attack in first quarter earnings report, Health News, ET HealthWorld



UnitedHealth hack looms over first-quarter earnings report, Health News, ET HealthWorld

In its first earnings report since a cyberattack disrupted its technology systems, UnitedHealth is expected to face higher medical costs, analysts report. The attack, impacting hospitals, clinicians, and pharmacies, has led to challenges in accessing medical claims and payments processing. The American Medical Association’s recent survey revealed ongoing issues for providers.

UnitedHealth has provided loans to affected healthcare providers and suspended prior authorization of medical services for government-backed insurance plans to expedite processing. Analysts anticipate a decrease in adjusted profit per share for the first quarter.

With medical procedures proceeding without prior authorization, UnitedHealth is estimated to incur additional medical costs in Medicare. Analysts predict a rise in one-time costs due to extra authorizations of medical procedures, impacting the company’s medical care ratio.

The hack’s impact could blur the line between increased medical care utilization and the cyberattack’s effects. Expectations for higher legal costs related to class actions and administrative costs for OptumRx, UnitedHealth’s pharmacy benefit manager, are also on the horizon.

UnitedHealth has yet to disclose the number of individuals affected by the hack, a detail required within 60 days by federal law. While progress has been made in restoring systems, challenges remain, making the incident far from concluded.

The incident has highlighted the importance of data security in the healthcare sector, and the company continues to work towards full recovery. The upcoming earnings report will shed light on the financial implications of the cyberattack and the company’s resilience in the face of adversity.

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