By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
The third largest Insurance carrier in the USA, Aetna, has agreed to pay over $17 million in damages to its customers after causing the largest-ever data breach involving HIV patient’s privacy. The announcement came on Wednesday Jan. 17.
The case originally started during the summer of 2017 in July when Aetna mailed out thousands of envelopes that had large transparent windows that accidentally revealed that recipients were receiving prescribed HIV medications. Needless too say this set off a fire storm.
“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,” read a statement by Legal Action Center who were members of the legal team of the plaintiffs.
Court documents alleged that Aetna improperly transmitted to its legal counsel and a mail vendor the names of 13,487 customers who had been prescribed HIV medications. Out of that group, 11,875 were sent the large transparent window envelopes in question that revealed HIV-related medication information.
The proposed settlement of $17,161,200 that Aetna has agreed to pay is now awaiting approval from the judge in the case. While the amount sounds huge it won’t be for all of the plaintiff’s involved as each party is set to only receive $75 to $500 each on average.
The payout will be determined on each plaintiff’s specific circumstances. The plaintiff’s in the case do have options as they can seek additional monetary relief by filing a claim form that documents financial or non-financial stress over the incident in question.
Not only does the settlement provide compensation for the plaintiff’s harmed in this case, but is will also mandate Aetna to implement a new “best practices” policy so that Aetna will not repeat these types of incidents from happening in the future. Aetna ha also agreed to pay all attorneys’ fees and expenses in the case.
Review the details of the settlement: Aetna HIV Data Breach Class Action Suit
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