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Can crowd funding help patients avoid personal bankruptcy?

The fact that medical bills can lead to serious debt issues has been discussed at great length, both here and in the media. In many cases, the costs associated with a serious illness or injury leads an individual to file for personal bankruptcy. For those in California who are facing a looming medical debt crisis, help may be found in the form of crowd funding.

Crowd funding is a technological form of fundraising; a digital means of allowing people to make contributions to a cause in which they believe. When someone is ill or injured, crowd funding gives friends and family a path through which they can provide meaningful assistance when it is needed most. Above all else, crowd funding is a new way for a community to do what has been done for hundreds of years, gather together to help a family in need.

Consider the series of events that take place when a person is taken ill. Friends and family usually come to visit, bringing cards, gifts and other items meant to cheer up the person who is sick. Those who are far away might send flowers; neighbors stop by with food for the family. While all of these acts are appreciated, what the family often needs most is assistance covering the cost of medical care or the loss of income that accompanies a serious illness.

Crowd funding begins when an account is opened with one of many available platforms. Users can share information about the individual’s medical needs, prognosis and progress. Once the news has spread, friends and family can use the platform to make contributions, which are collected and held for the family.

Social media can be a powerful tool here, and can provide a fast and easy way to spread the word. Even small amounts can help, as the collective effect can be far larger than the assistance that any one individual could provide alone. In some cases, crowd funding can help a California family avoid filing for personal bankruptcy, an event that all-too-often follows a serious illness or injury.

Source: Fox News, "Getting help when you need it most: Crowd funding medical bills", Lacie Glover, Aug. 13, 2014

Source: Fox News, "Getting help when you need it most: Crowd funding medical bills", Lacie Glover, Aug. 13, 2014

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