Tammy Fox wanted to help after a friend was diagnosed with a rare and difficult-to-diagnose autoimmune disease that required many trips to the Mayo Clinic.
Although Fox could not do anything medically, she knew there was a disease, so you can reduce the cost of medical bills and medical expenses. She went to the GoFundMe website and set up a website for her friend.
"They got food; They have hotel stays, "she said. "And gas. So everything had to be covered.
Posts came from strangers, said Fox, who lives in a suburb of Minneapolis. "It's crazy cool how great people are and what they want to give. People can just move mountains when they come together ̵
GoFundMe, the largest online crowdfunding fundraising platform for online donations, says donors have raised more than $ 5 billion from 50 million donations over the past eight years.
Setting up a GoFundMe page is also a hot-spot for people who need help paying for their doctors and other health care providers. Medical fundraisers now account for 1 in 3 of the site's campaigns, and they make more money than any other GoFundMe category, said GoFundMe chief Rob Solomon.
"In the old paradigm, you would give $ 20 to someone who needed help." Solomon said. "In the new paradigm, you give $ 20, tell it, and that could make 10, 20, 50, or 100 people. So the $ 20 could turn into hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Stories about tragic illness and financial hardship – all with pictures of the sufferer – are easy to find in GoFundMe's medical department.
In this case, the musician Carolyn Deal from Marshall, NC, who almost lost her hearing after a traumatic brain injury. Deal has raised nearly $ 25,000 for alternative treatments and procedures that she would like to cover through her health insurance.
Americans' confidence that they can afford health care is dwindling, said Sara Collins, an economist at the Commonwealth Fund studying American health care. Even with conventional treatments that are covered in most health plans, the copays and high deductibles have provided many people with health insurance they can not afford.
Your organization recently interviewed working-age Americans and asked them if they felt they could pay an unexpected medical bill of $ 1,000 in 30 days. Almost half said no.
"We find that underinsured people are almost as likely to report problems paying for their medical bills as people who do not have insurance," she said. "And they also report that they are unable to get medical care that is nearly as high as uninsured."
So it should come as no surprise that people are raising money through crowdsourcing, Collins said. "But it really should be a deep concern for policymakers and providers."
Solomon acknowledges that the challenges in understanding the functioning of health insurance and the extensive coverage landscape are arousing interest in the site.
The medical costs are high and they have become a very important category at GoFundMe, "he said.
Until about a year ago, GoFundMe retained 5% of the donation volume and collected a nearly 3% credit card processing fee. She still charges the credit card fee, but does not charge the 5 percent fee anymore.
This story is part of a partnership that includes the Minnesota Public Radio, NPR and Kaiser Health News.