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UnitedHealth discloses hackers likely stole patient data

Health insurance provider UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is still dealing with the fallout of a cyber attack in February that targeted its subsidiary Change Healthcare which managed payment systems and prescription processing for doctors' offices and patients. The company disclosed that hackers likely gained access to a substantial amount of customers' confidential health data.

Yahoo Finance Health Reporter Anjalee Khemlani breaks down the details.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Morning Brief.

This post was written by Luke Carberry Mogan.

Video transcript

SEANA SMITH: All right, Anj, while we have you, we also have to talk about United Health, because we're getting some updates there. Shares are actually in the red here this morning after the insurance giant provided an update on the extent of the cyberattack that you and I have spoken about, three of us have spoken about, here in the past over the last several weeks. What's the update there and the pressure that this could ultimately put on shares going forward?

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ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Yeah, this company really indicating to Wall Street that the financial impact less than expected. We've already covered the fact that in the first quarter alone, they saw about $872 million impact and expecting $1.6 billion throughout the year, so tiny by comparison to the earnings, of course.

But what they did let us know was that the extent of the attack was much larger than anticipated and that personally identifiable information and personal health information was, in fact, part of this. There were early indications that they did pay a ransom potentially in the amount of $22 million. There was a Bitcoin transaction that had been covered in the past by reports, and they did acknowledge, United Health acknowledged, that they did pay a ransom to get that data back.

So what they did say in the statement was, quote, "there were 22 screenshots, allegedly, from exfiltrated files, some containing the personally identified information that was sitting on the dark web for about a week, and they haven't seen that published further. So as of right now, they're thinking that they've contained the issue, but they're still looking into it and the issue is still under investigation. We know that Congress is looking to have the CEO before them in May, as well as the potential loss in market cap. We know previously they lost about $30 billion when this was first reported. So a lot of things mounting when it comes to the pressure that this company could face. Maybe it won't be specifically earnings, maybe it won't be the big financial hit, but it certainly is a brand hit.

SEANA SMITH: All right, Anj, thanks so much for breaking that down for us. Again, a name that we are going to keep on our radar here today.