Have you ever been hurt grilling or smoking food? What about falling into a storm drain?
More people are buying individual and family health plans under the Affordable Care Act. UnitedHealthcare sells ACA exchange plans in almost half the states. Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Chicago, the ad agency that created the campaign, wanted to use light humor found in other insurance ads to make UnitedHealthcare more relatable.
In one video ad, a man avoids running into a lamppost only to fall down an open manhole. A banner pops onto the screening showing that type of injury is listed in the ICD-9 claims coding system as “accidental fall into storm drain or manhole”—a healthcare factoid few consumers may know.
“No matter how you get into the complicated healthcare system, UnitedHealthcare can help you through it,” says another ad featuring a man trying to crowd surf, only to fall flat on his face. That code is E884.9, “other accidental fall from one level to another.”
While the ads poke fun at the bizarre types of ailments in the U.S. coding system and try to persuade consumers to buy UnitedHealthcare plans, unspoken is that the company stands to benefit as the wonky medical coding system evolves.
Hospitals, physicians and health insurers will have to switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by Oct. 1. The transition has been delayed several times because, in part, to physician opposition. But many hospitals and insurers have been onboard, investing in new technology to handle the switch. Early reports indicate there will be no ICD-10 delays associated with the "doc fix" bill in Congress.
UnitedHealthcare's parent company, UnitedHealth Group, has a separate subsidiary called Optum360. Hospitals and physicians hire Optum360 to help transition to the new ICD-10 system. The company said in January that it is optimistic the transition will occur this year and that many providers will use Optum360 for ICD-10 projects.