Aetna Uses Encryption to Safeguard Data

Protecting the privacy and security of sensitive information is one of our highest priorities. Accordingly, Aetna encrypts all Internet e-mails that contain member-specific health and financial information -- examples include, but aren't limited to, personal and demographic information (e.g., name, SSN, address), employment information, information about payment of benefits, provider information, diagnostic or treatment information, claims status information and information related to behavioral health and/or sexually transmitted disease services.

Use of encrypted e-mail enables us to send quick, reliable communications while maintaining our commitment to protecting the confidentiality of member-specific information.

 

What is encrypted e-mail?

Encrypted e-mail is scrambled by the sender's e-mail program, which renders it unreadable until it is descrambled or "decrypted" by the recipient. Unencrypted e-mail is similar to a postcard - the message can be viewed by anyone who picks it up. Encrypted e-mail is similar to a sealed letter -- the content cannot be viewed until the envelope is opened - except, in this case, the envelope has a lock on it to which only the recipient has a key!

 

How does Aetna's use of encrypted e-mail impact recipients?

  • Whenever Aetna transmits member-specific health or financial information via Internet e-mail, the e-mail includes a message indicating that the content has been secured via encryption.
  • Encrypted e-mails from Aetna include instructions on how to decrypt the message for viewing - this requires the recipient to perform a few simple clicks.
  • Anyone who receives an encrypted e-mail from Aetna is able to send an encrypted reply.
  • Third party messages that are sent to Aetna via the "Contact Us" feature on Aetna.com are also encrypted.

Who can receive member-specific health and financial information?

Aetna has strict procedures in place for determining if a third party can receive member health and financial information i.e., Aetna employees are required to verify whether a requestor is authorized to receive the information before it is released.

Whom can the recipient of an Aetna encrypted e-mail call with questions?

Each encrypted e-mail from Aetna includes instructions on how to open the message and view the secure content. In the event a recipient receives an error message while in the process of trying to open an Aetna-generated encrypted e-mail, the error message provides guidance for troubleshooting the problem. In addition, the error message includes the following contact information:

"If you experience any problems, please contact 1-800-237-7476, option 4 (Secure Email) during normal business hours; 8AM to 6PM E.S.T."

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