Photo Credit: Ernesto De Quesada/Flickr

One-Third of GoFundMe Donations Go Toward US Medical Bills

It’s no secret that, even with the Affordable Care Act, many still find themselves coming up short for medical treatment. Sadly, an enormous number of people have increasingly turned to online crowdfunding campaigns to bridge this gap.

Originally intended to offer a novel new way to fund independent projects — such as films or music — GoFundMe has become a major platform for desperate Americans, since opening in 2010. According to CEO Rob Solomon, one-third of all donations made through GoFundMe end up going toward funding a variety of health-related expenses.

“We werent ever set up to be a health care company and we still are not,” Solomon explained to CBS Moneywatch. Though not GoFundMe’s original intent, this shift has been undeniable. An average of 250,000 different funding campaigns are created every year, collectively bringing in $650 million annually.

The number of Americans with health care coverage has been plummeting recently. According to a recent Gallup poll, uninsured numbers are at a four-year high, growing by 7 million people since 2016.

Why is this? Despite Republican efforts, the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansions have largely endured. However, that hasn’t prevented a variety of state-level measures from hamstringing enrollment efforts, such as shortened open enrollment periods and reduced public awareness campaigns about enrollment. A number of private insurers have also bowed out of Medicaid participation, unwilling to provide reasonably priced coverage.

While many of these campaigns seek to aid Americans without health care coverage, some are supporting people whose insurance has been unable to cover their needs. Often, an insured individual is simply unable to cover their deductible — the amount of money that must be paid out-of-pocket before insurance covers the rest.

Given that 40 percent of Americans today are a single paycheck away from poverty, the ability to pay an often steep deductible on short notice is out of reach for millions. As such, is it truly any wonder many thousands of desperate Americans are turning to online crowdfunding to beg for help with paying their medical bills?

Originally published at Care2.com on Feb. 4, 2019.

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