Aetna mailed the letters in July 2017 to 12,000 patients across the nation, including almost 2,000 in California. Their HIV medications were revealed through a clear window on the envelopes.
“A person’s HIV status is incredibly sensitive information and protecting that information must be a top priority for the entire healthcare industry,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a press release announcing the settlement. “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 previously agreed to pay $17 million to settle claims under a private class action brought by victims of the mailing error. It also settled a lawsuit with New Jersey related to the privacy breach.