Aetna Agrees To Pay Over $17 Million To Settle HIV Privacy Breach Class Action
A $17 million settlement was announced today in a federal class action lawsuit against Aetna, Inc., the third largest health insurance company in the United States, after a faulty mailing breached the HIV privacy of thousands of Aetna’s customers.
The nationwide class action lawsuit was filed in August 2017 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, the Legal Action Center, and Berger & Montague, P.C. on behalf of current and former Aetna customers taking medication to treat HIV, or PrEP, a pre-exposure prophylactic that prevents HIV.
Our announcement comes six months after Aetna, as part of a settlement of an earlier set of lawsuits, mailed a notice in July 2017 in envelopes with large transparent windows that accidentally revealed that the recipients were prescribed HIV medications. It is believed to be the world’s largest data breach involving HIV privacy, and many recipients have reported suffering significant harm as a result of the mailing.
Click here to see today’s news release.
Click here to see the Settlement Agreement and the Motion for Preliminary Approval.
Good Counsel Fall 2017 is now available!
Aetna HIV Confidentiality Breach
At the end of July, Aetna mailed almost 12,000 letters to current and former customers in large windowed envelopes that accidentally displayed the words “prescriptions for HIV.”
In response, the AIDS Law Project partnered with New York-based Legal Action Center and Philadelphia law firm Berger & Montague, P.C. to file Beckett v. Aetna, a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
The company is offering emergency financial relief and counseling to those who suffered specific harm as a direct result of the mailing.
All Pain, No Gain: HIV Criminalization in Pennsylvania (May 2017)
HIV Criminalization undercuts important public health initiatives by ignoring actual transmission risk, exacerbating stigma, and devaluing the importance of personal responsibility in HIV prevention. Criminalization makes it more difficult for those who have been diagnosed with HIV to disclose their HIV status to partners or to access and stay in care. In short, it’s all pain and no gain.
Click here for the report.
The AIDS Law Project has been busy protecting people living with HIV in Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Click here for some recent victories.