US to End Advance Payments Program for Medicare Providers Hit by Change Healthcare Cyberattack

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jun 18, 2024 06:31 AM EDT

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday announced plans to end the advance payments program initiated to support Medicare providers affected by a cyberattack on UnitedHealth's Change Healthcare technology unit. 


(Photo : Cliff Hang from Pixabay)

BlackCat Attack on Change Healthcare

According to Reuters, this decision follows a hack by the group ALPHV, called "BlackCat," on February 21, which compromised medical insurance payments nationwide. CMS launched the payments program in March to mitigate the impact of the disruption.

The program will close on July 12, and CMS will stop accepting new applications for accelerated or advance payments related to the Change Healthcare/Optum Payment Disruption.

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$2.55 Billion in Accelerated Payments

The program has distributed over $2.55 billion in accelerated payments to 4,200 providers. CMS noted that it has reclaimed more than 96% of these payments, with providers and suppliers now effectively billing Medicare.

CMS recommended that any Medicare providers or suppliers still facing billing or payment issues should contact Change Healthcare directly. Change Healthcare handles around 50% of medical claims in the US. 

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