News Worms
News Worms


Aetna reveals HIV status of thousands in mass mailing

Aetna reveals HIV status of thousands in mass mailing

Aetna also sent notices to customers affected by the situation, claiming information may have been visible "in some cases". The combination of the letter's layout and the envelope's extra-large cellophane window allowed medical information to be visible to anyone who saw the letter at the post office, in the mailbox or on top of a pile of unread mail inside their home.

In a statement to NPR, Aetna said it apologizes and the company is "undertaking a full review of our processes to ensure something like this never happens again".

In a letter to Aetna, the two groups asked the insurer to develop a plan to correct its procedures so mistakes are avoided in the future.

Health care company Aetna sent out envelopes to its customers that revealed their HIV status at a glance, according to the Legal Action Center and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania.

Sent on behalf of patients in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Washington, DC, area, Friedman indicated they'd received 23 complaints prior to their Thursday demand letter.

The Legal Action Center and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania say they are considering further legal action.

The letters were mailed July 28, and on July 31, Aetna was made aware that its customers' personal information was revealed, according to a letter the company sent to affected customers this week explaining the situation.

A United States health insurance company accidentally disclosed some of its customers' HIV statuses to around 12,000 people last month.

Portions of the letter, about HIV medications, can be seen from the outside of the envelope, as can the name of the patient and his or her address.

"These privacy violations have caused incalculable harm to Aetna beneficiaries", the attorneys wrote.

Aetna last month breached the privacy of some of its customers with HIV when the CT health-insurance company sent a letter with instructions on how to fill prescriptions for HIV medications.

Regardless of whether specific medication or the client's condition was identified, "it creates a tangible risk of violence, discrimination and other trauma", Goldfein said in a statement.

"They also were shocked that their health insurer would utterly disregard their privacy rights", the organization said.

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