Preliminary approval of Aetna HIV Privacy Breach settlement

On May 10, 2018, a federal court in Pennsylvania granted preliminary approval of the $17 million settlement of the Beckett v Aetna class action lawsuit.  The lawsuit arose from an Aetna mailing last July, disclosing the HIV status of nearly 12,000 members through the large, transparent window on the envelope.  The suit also charged Aetna with improperly transferring protected health information of over 13,000 members to its law firm and a mail vendor.

The $17,161,200 settlement provides an automatic Base Payment of either $75 to people whose protected health information was improperly disclosed by Aetna to its legal counsel and mail vendor, or at least $500 (inclusive of the $75 payment above) to those whose privacy was breached by the large-windowed envelope that Aetna sent, whichever is applicable. Settlement Class Members who received the large-windowed envelope also may seek additional monetary relief by filing a claim form documenting financial or non-financial harm.

The settlement also includes the implementation by Aetna of a new “best practices” policy to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, and attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Class members should update their addresses if they have moved since July 2017 because the settlement administrator will send notices to all class members shortly. New York class member can contact the Legal Action Center at (212) 243-1313 with updated addresses or questions.  People outside of New York may contact the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania at [email protected].

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