Insurer’s mailing to customers made HIV status visible through envelope window

Erin Mershon reports that a mailing error by health insurer Aetna exposed sensitive information:

Thousands of people with HIV received mailed letters from Aetna last month that may have disclosed their HIV status on the envelope.

The letters, which Aetna said were sent to approximately 12,000 people, were meant to relay a change in pharmacy benefits. Text visible through a small window on the envelopes listed the patients’ names and suggested a change in how they would fill the prescription for their treatment for the virus.

Read more on STAT.  The incident is not yet up on HHS’s public breach tool. Based on the reported date of the incident (see below), this appears to be a different error/incident than an incident the health plan had reported in June that also affected thousands of their members. In this case, although the letter was sent to 12,000 members, it is not yet clear how many had their information exposed in the window.

According to the reporter in this case:

Aetna is in the process of notifying both state and federal authorities about the breach, a company spokesman said. The mailing was sent July 28.

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