Aetna reports some disruptions from Change hack

The Change Healthcare hack is disrupting some of Aetna's business operations, including possible disruptions in payments to providers. 

In a Feb. 27 message to providers, the insurer said it is "aware that some providers across our lines of business and affiliates may not be getting timely payments at this time." 

"We take this very seriously. At this time, we're exploring contingency payment options, particularly for providers in our Medicaid plans who receive payment via paper check and are enrolled in the Virtual Credit Card program," the payer said. 

Aetna said it is working to assess the impact to claim payments. 

Many of Change Healthcare's applications, which span revenue cycle management to prescription processing, have been down since Feb. 21. Change Healthcare is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group's Optum. 

Optum confirmed Feb. 29 that it was hacked by a ransomware gang after the group claimed to have stolen massive amounts of data. 

Aetna uses Change Healthcare as an intermediary for certain data exchanges, the insurer said in its message to providers, and many of its in-network providers use Change Healthcare to submit claims to Aetna. There is no indication Aetna's systems have been compromised, the insurer said. 

In a Feb. 28 letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the Medical Group Management Association said some practices have been unable to send claims or receive payments as a result of the hack. 

In its message to providers, Aetna advised practices to submit claims using another of its approved transaction vendors. 

In its Feb. 27 message, Aetna said it would not liberalize any prior authorization requirements at this time. 

"We have assessed the situation over the last few days and the alternative processes in place — in addition to available Aetna phone call support — should help us manage this important utilization management step with our network providers during this time. If this changes, we will provide an update," the insurer said. 

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