US government encourages insurance companies to advance pay health care providers

Insurance companies - American flag - person offering payment

After a massive cyberattack, the government hopes insurers will make advance payments.

The US government has called for insurance companies to choose to voluntarily send advance payments to health care providers who were affected by a massive cyberattack.

The attack caused a disruption to the processing systems with insurers.

According to the US government, the cyberattack had a “significant impact” and it is hoping that insurance companies will choose to send advance payments to health care providers in light of what happened.  The attack impacted Change Healthcare, a UnitedHealth Group unit that is responsible for processing medical transactions. 

Insurance companies - Healthcare provider with money and security

In fact, Change Healthcare processes about 15 billion health care transactions every year. As a result of the cyberattack, hospitals, pharmacies and other health care providers were not able to process bills for prescriptions. This occurred with providers using this system all across the United States.

The government wants insurance companies to step up in this case

The call for insurers to send advance payments to health care providers in this situation was made in a letter written by Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services Secretary, and Julie Su, Acting Labor Secretary.

In the letter, Becerra and Su addressed “private sector leaders” throughout the health care industry.  It asked them to consider the situation and “to meet the moment.” This is not the typical path for insurers to take in response to a cyberattack, but the situation is unique due to the size of the cyberattack.

Requesting that insurers send the payments

The two authors of the letter specifically requested that UnitedHealth Group take action in this matter. It implored with UnitedHealth Group to take the steps necessary to make certain that no affected health care provider will be “compromised by their cash flow challenges.”

Beyond asking the insurance companies to send advance payments to the health care providers, it also requested that they send more frequent communication.  The idea is to help to make sure that the health care providers will know what to expect so that they can make decisions based on what they know will happen, and to make sure that those providers have the funds they need to continue operating without having to sacrifice quality of care.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.