Health Information Management

Thieves steal data about 38,000 Aetna members

HIM-HIPAA Insider, May 1, 2006

Thieves stole a laptop that contained personal information about 38,000 Aetna health plan members from an employee's locked car, the Hartford, CT-based insurer announced April 26.

The computer was password-protected and there is no indication that the data has been misused, according to the insurer. Aetna has contacted the affected members, who work for two companies that are Aetna customers. Although the insurer did not disclose what kinds of data the laptop held, it will pay for credit-monitoring services.

"In this case, our employee did not follow our corporate policies, and it was coupled with a criminal theft," Ronald A. Williams, CEO and president of Aetna, stated in a release. "Aetna deeply regrets this incident and has apologized to our members." Without providing details, Williams added that Aetna would augment its efforts to ensure employee compliance with Aetna security policy.

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