About 20 million Americans have started a crowdfunding campaign to help with their medical bills, or the medical expenses of someone else, according to a new survey released on Wednesday.
NORC at the University of Chicago found that 50 million Americans, or one-in-five, have donated to a crowdfunding campaign raising money for medical expenses. About 8 million have started a campaign for their own medical bills or someone in their household, and 12 million have started a campaign for someone else.
“As annual out-of-pocket costs continue to rise, more Americans are struggling to pay their medical bills, and millions are turning to their social networks and crowdfunding sites to fund medical treatments and pay medical bills,” Mollie Hertel, NORC senior research scientist, said in a statement. “Although about a quarter of Americans report having sponsored or donated to a campaign, this share is likely to increase in the face of rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs.”
Most of the people who donated to a crowdfunding campaign, 46%, were donating to a friend, 35% donated to a stranger, 24% donated to a relative, 23% to an acquaintance, and 14% to a co-worker, with 6% unable to remember or not responding.
Over half of Americans, 60%, said that the government should be greatly responsible for helping when medical care is unaffordable, 47% said hospitals or clinics, 44% percent said charities, 38% said doctors, and 32% said friends or family.
“It is clear that Americans want government and providers to work together to provide charity or assistance when needed,” added Susan Cahn, another senior research scientist at NORC.” Fewer Americans think that family, friends, or even strangers should shoulder the costs of care that patients and their families cannot afford. Furthermore, although we estimated that, to date, 8 percent of Americans have started crowdfunding campaigns, 26 percent believe friends or family should not assume much or any responsibility for unaffordable medical care costs.”