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GoFundMe is Saving Our Healthcare System

Updated: Mar 15

According to the former CEO of GoFundMe, Rob Solomon, one-third of GoFundMe donations cover medical costs. When the business initially launched in 2010, Solomon and the rest of his team didn’t expect most campaigns to be healthcare-focused. 


Solomon told CBS MoneyWatch that his platform wasn’t set up to be a substitute for medical insurance—it was never set up to be a healthcare company and it still isn’t. But over time, it’s looking more and more like one.


GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform to help individuals raise money for all categories. The categories range from celebrations, such as graduations and weddings, to challenging circumstances, like funerals and illnesses. For most Americans, GoFundMe, also known as the leader in online medical fundraising, has become a financial support system for all things medical-related. 


Between 2016 to 2020, over 400,000 medically-related GoFundMe campaigns raised $2 billion from 21.7 million donations. There are over 250,000 medical fundraisers annually and about $650 million is raised yearly, according to Time. 


With such large numbers, GoFundMe advertising has focused on immediate help for whatever need can be attained through the platform. Such help includes treatments for cancer, Leukemia, Lymphoma, IVF, health insurance and surgery. 


Millions of lives have been positively impacted by GoFundMe as the company continues to drive its mission to make it safe and easy for anyone to give and receive help. The site is among the few platforms with guaranteed funding. 


They also offer practical fundraising mechanisms to push the campaign further and have no time limits or deadlines. However, the success stories of many fundraisers are limited, as many are not guaranteed to reach their goals. Only 12% of GoFundMe campaigns for medical expenses achieved their target amounts, and 16% received no donations, according to CBS News. 


Why the sudden shift to GoFundMe? The number of Americans who lack health insurance continues to increase. As of 2021, about 30 million Americans are uninsured, and individuals with insurance may have limited coverage. This resulted in the nation turning to each other to pay for bills they had no control over. 


According to the United States Census Bureau, the average household income in 2021 is $71,186. Yet many Americans spend over $12,530 on medical expenses yearly, as stated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. With costs such as rent, food, electricity and more, going to GoFundMe has become their final resort. 


As beneficial as GoFundMe is, policies must be implemented to assist individuals with severe or unexpected illnesses or diseases to help support families and relieve this stress. If over 50% of Americans have medical debts and additional essential costs, as stated by the ​​Consumer News and Business Channel, how can they afford to help others with the same issues?


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


Sources


Kollar, Jessica Semega and Melissa. “Income in the United States: 2021.” Census.Gov, 13 Sept. 2022, www.census.gov/library/publications/2022/demo/p60-276.html.



Martinez, Gina. “GoFundMe CEO: One-Third of Fundraisers Are for Medical Costs.” Time, 30 Jan. 2019, time.com/5516037/gofundme-medical-bills-one-third-ceo/


Cerullo, Megan. “Their Twins’ Medical Costs Total $750,000 - Each. They and Thousands of Others Are Counting on GoFundMe.” CBS News, 30 Jan. 2019, www.cbsnews.com/news/crushed-by-medical-bills-many-americans-go-online-to-beg-for-help/


Winters, Mike. “Over Half of Americans Have Medical Debt, Even Those with Health Insurance-Here’s Why.” CNBC, 11 Mar. 2022, www.cnbc.com/2022/03/11/why-55percent-of-americans-have-medical-debt-even-with-health-insurance.html.

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