90% of GoFundMe campaigns for medical expenses failed to achieve financial target, study finds

With the rising popularity of high-deductible health plans, a number of patients have trouble paying their medical expenses. This struggle may lead them to set up a crowdfunding campaign such as GoFundMe. But these campaigns are often unsuccessful at achieving their financial target, according to a study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

For the study, researchers from the University of Washington Bothell examined 200 GoFundMe campaigns set up last year.

They found most of the campaigns (90 percent) only garnered 40 percent of their financial target on average, according to a news release. A smaller number of campaigns (10 percent) raised less than $100, the release states.

The study also found a large portion of campaigns occurred in states opting out of the ACA's Medicaid expansion. Specifically, 54 percent of the campaigns studied came from nonexpansion states, according to the release.

Additionally, people who are more tech savvy have a greater advantage with crowdfunding platforms, and those with the most complicated medical problems tend to face the most difficult challenges receiving necessary financial help, the release states.

Overall, the study's authors believe crowdfunding could possibly "deepen social and health inequities in the U.S. by promoting forms of individualized charity that rely on unequally-distributed literacies to demonstrate deservingness and worth."

They added: "Crowdfunding narratives also distract from crises of healthcare funding and gaping holes in the social safety net by encouraging hyper-individualized accounts of suffering on media platforms where precarity is portrayed as the result of inadequate self-marketing, rather than the inevitable consequences of structural conditions of austerity."



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