Aetna fined over inadvertent HIV, AFib privacy breaches

Aetna agreed to pay a $365,000 penalty after the insurance provider inadvertently breached the privacy rights of hundreds of New Jersey residents, the state's Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Oct. 11.

In August 2017, Aetna inadvertently revealed the HIV status of some of its members when it mailed letters with information clearly visible through a window on the envelopes about filling prescriptions for HIV medications as well as pre-exposure prophylaxis, a pill that helps prevent a person from contracting HIV. The letters were mailed July 28 to about 12,000 customers in multiple states.

In New Jersey, 647 residents were affected by the breach, according to The fine also concerns an inadvertent breach in September, when the name and logo for a study on atrial fibrillation was readable for mail sent to 1,600 Aetna members across multiple states.

In January, Aetna reached a $17 million settlement to resolve a federal class-action lawsuit filed in August 2017 after the inadvertent HIV privacy breach, according to court documents.

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