Health Insurance

Aetna offers emergency compensation for HIV disclosure victims

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Health insurance giant Aetna is offering cash reimbursements to some of the people who were affected when the company accidentally disclosed the HIV statuses of some of its customers.

The “emergency relief” program will offer reimbursement and payments to individuals who say they have incurred financial hardship as a direct result of the privacy breach.

A financial hardship could be people forced to move, or forced to incur other out-of-pocket expenses as a result of others learning that they are taking HIV/AIDS medication.

Aetna will also provide access to counseling services for affected individuals and their families.

The company will solely determine who is eligible for the program.

Aetna said it is not admitting any wrongdoing by offering the services, and that “individuals who avail themselves of the benefits offered under this program will not release any legal claims.”

Aetna is under fire and facing a class-action lawsuit alleging the insurer violated the privacy of its customers by mistakenly revealing the HIV status of approximately 12,000 people over the summer.

The letters came in envelopes with large, clear windows, allowing some of the information to be read without opening it.

Portions of the letter about HIV medications, as well as the names and addresses of patients, could be seen from the outside of the envelope.


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