Justice Insured: Aetna agrees to pay $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.