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Settlement made with Aetna over allegations that it revealed Californians' HIV status

Posted: 3:49 PM, Jan 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-30 18:49:51-05
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today a $935,000 settlement resolving allegations that Aetna violated California health privacy laws in connection with its 2017 breach of patient confidentiality.

According to officials, due to a mailing error, a vendor with Aetna sent letters to 1,991 Californians that revealed through an oversized clear window on mailed envelopes that the recipient was taking HIV-related medication.

“A person’s HIV status is incredibly sensitive information and protecting that information must be a top priority for the entire healthcare industry,” Attorney General Becerra said. “Aetna violated the public’s trust by revealing patients' private and personal medical information. We will continue to hold these companies accountable to prevent such a gross privacy violation from reoccurring.”

Aetna is a health insurance company based in Connecticut. On July 28, 2017, Aetna mailed letters to approximately 12,000 people nationwide, including 1,991 Californians.

The victims have additionally received over $17 million in compensation through a private class action settlement.