Aetna's HIV Lapse Shows Snail Mail's Privacy Pitfalls

By Jeff Overley (August 25, 2017, 9:02 PM EDT) -- Letters to Aetna Inc. policyholders that publicly divulged information about HIV medications represented a clear breakdown of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act controls and are a reminder of snail mail's distinct privacy risks, attorneys say.

The letters, which were revealed on Thursday, went to 12,000 Aetna customers. The letters used window envelopes that exposed policyholder names and, in at least some cases, information about prescriptions for HIV drugs. Aetna swiftly apologized and called the matter "unacceptable."

Aetna allegedly sent letters to some policyholders that revealed they were getting HIV medication in the envelope's clear window, which policyholders claim is in...

Stay ahead of the curve

In the legal profession, information is the key to success. You have to know what’s happening with clients, competitors, practice areas, and industries. Law360 provides the intelligence you need to remain an expert and beat the competition.

  • Access to case data within articles (numbers, filings, courts, nature of suit, and more.)
  • Access to attached documents such as briefs, petitions, complaints, decisions, motions, etc.
  • Create custom alerts for specific article and case topics and so much more!


Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!