Justice for Aetna Customers Whose HIV Statuses were Exposed

Target: Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aetna

Goal: Fire workers responsible for sending out mailings that made visible customers’ confidential and sensitive information, including their HIV statuses.

Customers were stunned when health insurance company Aetna sent out mailings regarding private and personal information that accidentally made HIV statuses visible from the outside of envelopes. This breach of privacy and trust was not only illegal, but exposed many people to discrimination and stigmatization from family or neighbors who learned their situation when they saw the outside of the envelope.

The letters contained information about access to HIV medications, for HIV treatment as well as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which helps prevent HIV. Lawyers representing customers across nine states wrote to Aetna and demanded that it immediately stop sending mail that “illegally discloses that they are taking HIV medication.” The company confirmed that in a mailing mistake, envelopes with windows were used, which allowed medication information to be visible alongside the name and address of the recipient. Aetna issued an apology and stated, “We will work to ensure that proper safeguards are in place to prevent something similar from happening in the future.”

However, the mistake is more than just a legal issue: as Sally Friedman of the Legal Action Center pointed out, the “casual disclosure” of HIV status “creates a tangible risk of violence, discrimination and other trauma” because of the stigma still attached to the disease. Sign below to demand that these customers receive justice and that the parties responsible for breaching their privacy be fired.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chairman Bertolini,

The exposure of the HIV statuses of many Aetna customers due to an irresponsible mailing mistake was not only illegal, but demonstrated a disregard for customers’ privacy and their well-being. Those responsible for the mistake must be held accountable for their actions.

Medical advances aside, there is still stigma and discrimination attached to HIV, which customers may have to face now that their medications have been revealed to family and neighbors. These people deserve justice. I urge you to ensure that the parties responsible for the exposure of this private information are fired.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Montgomery County Planning Commission

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3 Comments

  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    i have atena insurance.

  2. ATENA SHAME ON YOU! YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO RELEASE MEDICAL RECORDS WITHOUT A SIGNED RELEASE CONTRACT. THE INSURERS SHOULD ALL SUE YOUR CORPORATION. ACCORDING TO THE LAW IN THE USA, WHAT YOU DID IS AGAINST THE LAW.

  3. Robert Tedders Robert Tedders says:

    @Raleigh Koritz: Look, I agree with your point, but I don’t thik ATENA will suffer over this, not unless we organise the protests and/or other action ourselves. I wish I could say I thought otherwise, but I’d be lying….

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