50: Medical Insurance Codes
Not the big yawn that you’d think. These 100,000 or so codes are used to determine your bill. Some of those codes are hilarious. Bit by cow and struck by orca, just to name a few.
Medical Insurance Codes Transcript:
Welcome to Brain Junk! I’m Trace Kerr, and I’m Amy Barton, and this is a Brain Storm.
AB: About insurance codes.
AB: I know! You guys are all so excited! Please, pause the show if you’re going to go to the bathroom, don’t let it run, because I have good things to share with you! My aunt is nurse, she’s been a nurse for a long time, and I remember a few years ago she was talking about how we couldn’t go biking on certain days because her days off were restricted because they were learning a new computer system, and now, reading this article I found, it was because the World Health Organization updated the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Basically, what that long phrase is, is when you go in to see a medical professional for a reason, there used to be about 14,000 reasons for all the medical things. Ever.
TK: Codes. Codes that they would use?
AB: Yup! And that affects your billing. What your insurance company sees as having been done to you, what they will pay for, what you’re responsible for, and so the World Health Organization said “We’re going to expand this, give you a little more detail.” The ‘little more detail’ that came out in October 2015 was 100,000 codes. So that’s like a six, seven fold increase. Huge, huge explosion. So, hence that whole hospitals adopting new databases.and they had to update to accommodate this. What’s awesome about this is that expansion of codes has led to some really excellent codes.
- Bitten by a cow.
- Bitten by a chicken.
- Here’s one of my favorites: Pedestrian on foot injured in collision with roller skater.
These are insurance codes like you could go into your doctor and report that, and there’s a code for that!
AB: You could be hurt at the library or the opera specifically.
TK: >Laughing< I’m sorry!
AB: Here’s another good one, this one’s for you, Jodie Ruster: accident while knitting or crocheting.
TK: “Oh I fell on the needle and it’s right here through my spleen!”
AB: >Makes a sound simulating knitting needle impalement<
AB: How about struck by orca, initial encounter. My husband is like ‘do they not insure the secondary encounter?’
TK: I know, that’s what I was just going to say! What about another encounter?
AB: I don’t know if there’s a code for secondary encounter. Made me really happy that there was an initial one.
Struck by marine mammals.
How about burn due to water skis on fire. I didn’t read that one when I was reading the list. That one’s new to me and I love it!
Struck by Macaw.
Sucked into jet engine.
TK: Why do you need a code for that? What you need is a bag or a bucket.
AB:Both. And a mop.
TK: Oh jeez!
AB: How many people has that happened to, that it necessitates that code. That’s amazing!
How about unspecified spacecraft accident injuring occupants. That’s like twelve people in the world. Right? I don’t know, Sandra Bullock would be coded this one. Who else? Matt Damon?
TK:Well, no, because when he’s super injured he’s on Mars, right? So that would be unspecified on another planet.
AB: That’s true. Not covered. Interplanetary incident involving impalement.
TK: What I would like to know is just, like, ok we’ve made it 100,000, but I mean, how many are really, really used?
AB: 13,000. I don’t know.
TK: Like five. Cold, unspecified burn, a break, mucous.
AB: Undifferentiated. Mucous has its own forty five codes. It’s probably got more than that.
TK: And that is a Brain Storm.
AB:I feel like you guys are better people knowing this.
TK: Ok, if you’re in the medical field, and you have a particular favorite, you need to get on Facebook, leave us a message.
AB: Yes please.
Want to hear more? We’re on Facebook and Instagram as BrainJunkPodcast, and you can find us on Twitter as @MyBrainJunk. Trace and I will catch you next time, with more of everything you never knew you wanted to know, and I guarantee you will not be bored. And there’s probably a code for that too.