US providers could see credit impact from Change Healthcare hack, Moody’s says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 8, 2024 | 6:35 PM

(Reuters) – Ratings agency Moody’s said on Friday that U.S. hospitals, physician facilities and other medical providers could see a credit impact resulting from disruptions from the hack at UnitedHealth’s Change Healthcare, which processes medical insurance claims and payments.

The unit, which processes about 50% of medical claims in the U.S., was breached on Feb. 21 by a hacking group called ALPHV, also known as BlackCat.

“The ultimate credit impact on providers will largely depend on the effect of payment delays on cash flow needed to meet expenses,” said Kailash Chhaya, senior analyst for Moody’s Ratings.

Providers that rely solely on Change face an inability to file any claims, Chhaya said.

The expenses can include labor to handle processing claims through slower, even manual methods.

Many large providers use multiple systems, mitigating effects of the disruption. The system shutdown has also affected pre-treatment authorization, causing delays in administering certain services.

UnitedHealth on Thursday said it expects to restore disrupted services for medical claims and payments platforms by mid-March.

UnitedHealth did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Last month, Moody’s said the hack was a “credit negative” for the company.

(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Leslie Adler)