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Allina Health Uses Encryption to Safeguard Data


Use of encryption to safeguard data


Protecting the privacy and security of sensitive information is one of our highest priorities. Accordingly, Allina Health | 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.



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!

  • Whenever Allina Health | 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 Allina Health | 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 Allina Health | Aetna is able to send an encrypted reply.
  • Third party messages that are sent to Allina Health | Aetna via the “Contact Us” feature on are also encrypted.

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

Each encrypted e-mail from Allina Health | 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 Allina Health | Aetna-generated encrypted e-mail, the error message provides guidance for troubleshooting the problem.