#GlobalNews: “Thousands receive letter publicly revealing HIV status on envelope from insurance provider – National”


People living with HIV in the U.S. were shocked to discover their health insurer accidentally left personal and sensitive information about their disease visible on their mail.

Aetna Insurance mailed about 12,000 letters which included information about HIV medication visible through a “window” envelope, according to a release from the Legal Action Center in New York and the AIDS Law Protect of Pennsylvania. The two firms are coordinating the efforts of eight organizations to look into the issue.

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The letters went out to patients in multiple states including Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

“Aetna’s privacy violation devastated people whose neighbors and family learned their intimate health information. They also were shocked that their health insurer would utterly disregard their privacy rights,” Sally Freidman, legal director of the Legal Action Center, said in a release.

The release says the breach of privacy can lead to discrimination and violence.

“I know of someone who has been kicked out of his home because somebody who saw his envelope learned his HIV status,” Friedman told CNN.

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The company has apologized for the breach of privacy.

“We understand how important your privacy is, and this type of mistake is unacceptable,” Aetna’s chief privacy officer Cynthia Bates wrote in a letter to their customers.

She also said the company will be implementing “a full review of our processes to ensure something like this never happens again.”

The law offices have currently told the company to cease sending letters like this and are considering legal action.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Note: “Previously Published on: 25 August 2017 | 9:55 pm, as ‘Thousands receive letter publicly revealing HIV status on envelope from insurance provider – National’ on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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