US: Insurer Settles Lawsuit For $17 Million For Accidentally Outing HIV Patients

Aetna has agreed to pay $17 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit after the health insurance company mailed out envelopes that accidentally revealed thousands of patients’ HIV status.

The settlement, announced Wednesday, concerns a mass mailing that Aetna sent to patients in the summer of 2017. The lawsuit alleged that Aetna committed a privacy breach by giving its law firm and a mail vendor the names and confidential health information of 13,487 customers who’d been prescribed HIV medications. (By settling, Aetna is not admitting to wrongdoing.)

Nearly 12,000 of those people then received large-windowed envelopes that, even when unopened, showed that they were prescribed HIV medications, according to the lawsuit. These patients are entitled to receive at least $500 each under the settlement.

An additional 1,600 or so patients did not have their HIV status revealed in the mail, but Aetna still improperly shared their names, the lawsuit alleged. That group of people stands to receive $75 each under the settlement. Read more via Buzzfeed