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Aetna Exposed New Jersey HIV Patients' Personal Information

A sealed Aetna envelope received by a customer in Brooklyn, New York, exposing their personal information and HIV status.
A sealed Aetna envelope received by a customer in Brooklyn, New York, exposing their personal information and HIV status. Photo Credit: aidslawpa.org

The personal information of HIV patients in New Jersey and several other states was outed by health insurer Aetna through a window on envelopes in mailings to the patients.

The July 28 letter showed the patients' name address, claim number and health plan options available to fill their HIV medication prescriptions.

The Legal Action Center (LAC) and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania (ALPP) in a cease and desist letter demanded that Aetna "take corrective measures to ensure that this gross breach of privacy and confidentiality never reoccurs."

"By sending this mail, Aetna has violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164, as well as numerous state statutory and common laws governing confidentiality of health information."

"We demand that Aetna immediately cease and desist from sending any mail that reveals beneficiaries’ medications or other protected health information to anyone other than the individual who opens the envelope.

"We also are seeking verification of the corrective measures that Aetna has taken to ensure that Aetna never engages in this type of privacy breach again."

Individuals in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. were affected.

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