Medical bills account for 1 in 3 GoFundMe campaigns

Fundraisers for medical bills and accompanying expenses account for a third of campaigns on GoFundMe, the crowdsourcing website's CEO Rob Solomon told MPR News.

The site has become a go-to option for individuals who need help paying their physicians. According to GoFundMe, the site hosts 250,000-plus medical campaigns each year, with more than $650 million raised across those campaigns.

Some examples of GoFundMe campaigns reviewed by MPR News include an uninsured man from Charleston, S.C., with prostate cancer who sought $50,000 to pay mounting bills. He has collected more than $85,000. In another instance, the family of a 3-year-old from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., who is susceptible to bone breaks raised $30,000 of their $40,000 target.

Sara Collins, an economist with the Commonwealth Fund, said escalating copays and deductibles have left even insured Americans with unaffordable medical bills.

"We find that underinsured people are nearly as likely to report problems paying their medical bills as people who don't have any insurance and they also report not getting needed healthcare at rates that are nearly as high as those who are uninsured," she told MPR News. "So, it shouldn't be surprising that people are raising funds through crowdsourcing. But it really should be a deep concern for policy-makers and providers."

More articles on healthcare finance:
Mississippi man refuses CT scan until confirming insurance coverage — then gets hit with $3,878 bill
Parents charged $15,666 trauma fee after baby takes nap, drinks formula in ER
Surprise billing should be addressed by private insurers, not Medicare, American College of Radiology contends

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