Did AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Violate HIPAA?


This is the title of a Forbes Online article by Dan Munro. In short, Tom Armstrong, boss of AOL, announced a cutback in AOL’s 401(k) plan and partially blamed “two distressed babies” that cost a million dollars each. Click here to read the full article.

Armstrong got a huge backlash and later admitted what he said was wrong. The question is did he violate HIPAA privacy laws? Writes Munro, “In a company of over 5,000, it could be relatively easy for a fair number of co-workers to deduce”the identities of the mothers. My bet is he did violate HIPAA. At the least he violated standards of decency.

My view has always been that insurance is for the high cost cases. If he wanted to castigate someone, he should have focused on overuse: people who use emergency rooms frivolously, doctors who over-test, doctors who over-treat, etc.

Shame on Anderson. Sometimes an apology just isn’t enough.

First posted on Cracking Health Costs 2/11/2014.