A new trend is developing in the US, which sees a rapid increase in the number of crowdfunding campaigns to pay for medical patients. Cancer patients are now using platforms like GoFundMe to pay for their medical bills, gather childcare and sometimes even for funeral arrangements.
New study highlights crowdfunding trends
According to a new study by University of California San Francisco, patients are now using crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to pay for their medical expenses. They are also raising campaigns for alternative treatments, experimental treatments and even for funerals. The patients are looking for funds for childcare and lost wages as well.
The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine and shows that cancer patients are raising an average of 25% of their goal of $10,000. A large number of people among them are either looking for money to supplement their health insurance coverage or pay for their most urgent needs- paying medical bills. These funds are being paid for deductibles, out of pocket drugs and co-pays.
According to the study’s author and UCSF Health urologist Benjamin N. Breyer, MD, cancer patients, and their families have to handle huge financial consequences that come with its treatment. He said that the study helped them understand how patients are using crowdfunding to support their cancer-treatment needs. It has been highlighted previously that the high cost of treatment and care leads to many patients going bankrupt or selling their possessions or going into huge debts.
The high costs of oncology
In the US, technological innovations and new-age therapies have made the cost of oncologic care very high. The researchers looked into 37,344 campaigns related to cancer on GoFundMe as of October 7, 2018. They studied a little over one thousand campaigns in detail to understand the age, job, type of cancer and treatment plans from the campaign data. They also identified the 20 most common types of cancers which included breast cancer, colon cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and leukemia.
Data suggests that 41% of the patients want funds to pay medical bills, and 23.2% wanted to pay for non-medical bills. A little over 25% of patients sought funds for medical travel. The median campaign total was $10,000, but patients only raised $2,125 on average. An interesting data point here was that underinsured patients were asking for about $10,000 more than others for their campaigns, but they could not receive a higher median donation. These patients are also more likely to ask for funds for paying medical bills.
About 42% of patients were treated with chemotherapy, while 31% had undergone surgery. About 32% of the patients were at stage IV – the last stage of the disease. Healthcare is not the only sector where Crowdfunding sites are used, even the Real Estate sector has seen a rise.