Aetna mailings disclose HIV status of clients

HEALTH INSURERS

Aetna mailings reveal HIV status of clients

Insurer Aetna said it inadvertently revealed the HIV status of some clients in a mailing about medication for the disease sent to about 12,000 people last month.

Information about the HIV drugs was visible through a plastic window in some cases, Aetna said. The Legal Action Center and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, which first revealed the mailing problem, are asking Aetna to make sure there are no future breaches.

“We demand that Aetna immediately cease and desist from sending any mail that reveals beneficiaries’ medications or other protected health information to anyone other than the individual who opens the envelope,” the advocacy groups said in a letter to the company Thursday.

Aetna informed customers of the breach in a letter and apologized. The insurer said that a vendor, which it didn’t identify, was responsible for the mailings.

— Bloomberg News

HOUSING

Pace of U.S. home sales slowed in July

Americans retreated from buying homes in July as sales sank 1.3 percent to their lowest level of the year.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that sales of existing homes slipped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.44 million. However, sales are 2.1 percent higher than they were a year ago.

The year-over-year gains show relatively strong demand. But fewer homes are hitting the market, and the shortage is depressing sales levels with prices climbing faster than buyers’ wages. The median sales price has risen 6.2 percent from a year ago to $258,300.

— Associated Press

FOOD INDUSTRY

U.S. judge throws out cheese lawsuits

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed lawsuits by consumers who had sued food retailers and food manufacturers over their “100% grated Parmesan cheese” labels, alleging they were deceiving buyers because the products contained cellulose.

Starting in early 2016, companies such as Kraft Heinz, Target, Walmart and SuperValu were hit with some 50 lawsuits, which were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in federal court in Chicago.

The lawsuits claimed the companies violated various state consumer protection statutes by labeling their products as 100 percent cheese when a list on the back of containers clearly showed other ingredients.

But U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said the claims were doomed “by the readily accessible ingredient panels on the products that disclose the presence of non-cheese ingredients.”

— Reuters

Also in Business

Sears Holdings, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, announced Thursday that it will shutter 28 Kmart stores. The retailer, which reported second-quarter results that showed its long-term turnaround struggle continues, had already closed 180 stores and previously announced plans to cut another 150 before the latest additions to the list.

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday indicted two former managers at French bank Societe Generale for their roles in a scheme to manipulate the global Libor benchmark interest rate. The department said in a statement it had charged Danielle Sindzingre, 54, the bank’s former global head of treasury, and Muriel Bescond, 49, its former head of treasury in Paris, in a Brooklyn federal court with conspiring to transmit false reports concerning market information that tends to affect a commodity and four counts of transmitting such false reports.

Caribou Coffee is acquiring the Bruegger’s Bagels chain, Bruegger’s owner Le Duff America said Thursday. Caribou is owned by privately held JAB Holding Co. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of September, weren’t disclosed. Le Duff says it decided to sell Bruegger’s so it could focus on its French heritage brands.

LG Electronics broke ground in Tennessee on Thursday at the site of the South Korean appliance manufacturer’s first washing machine plant in the United States. Company and local officials were joined at the ceremony in Clarksville by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). The 1 million-square-foot facility, on a site about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, is projected to cost $250 million and create 600 new jobs.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases durable goods for July.

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