As the costs of health care and out-of-pocket expenses continue to rise in the U.S., more and more people are turning to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe for help. Crowdfunding– or raising small amounts of money from a large group of online donors – has become the new norm for families facing insurmountable medical expenses.

Campaigns for medical care

GoFundMe, the largest crowdfunding platform worldwide, allows people to solicit money from their social network or strangers for a broad range of reasons. However, according to the site’s CEO, one-third of all donations made through the platform are to help people pay for their medical expenses.

Each year, GoFundMe hosts 250,000 medical campaigns which collectively raise more than $650 million annually. As many as one in five Americans has donated to a medical campaign for their relatives, friends, coworkers or even complete strangers. But as generous as people are, the fact that millions of Americans are unable to afford the care they need is symptomatic of a broken system.

Why Americans can’t afford their medical bills

According to a recent study, medical debt is the number one reason Americans file for personal bankruptcy. But why are Americans unable to pay for health care?

One reason could be the rising rate of the uninsured. The number of uninsured people in the U.S. has steadily increased since 2016, with 13.7% of Americans without coverage as of 2018. However, it isn’t only the uninsured who are turning to crowdfunding.

Even people who have health insurance are struggling to keep up with increasing out-of-pocket expenses. The CDC defines high deductible insurance as a $1,300 or higher deductible for individuals and $2,600 or higher deductible for families. Currently, four out of every ten Americans has high deductible insurance, making it challenging to afford even routine care.

If you are one of the millions drowning in medical debt, it may be time to speak to a professional about your debt relief options. No one should have to rely on crowdfunding to pay for their medical needs.