This week, we covered a New York Times report indicating that many individuals are turning to crowdfunding to raise money for their medical expenses or associated financial burdens. In a letter submitted to the editors of The New York Times, HelpHOPELive CEO David Bakelman challenged the notion that crowdfunding platforms are a surefire avenue for medical fundraising. Here is David’s letter to The New York Times.
Re: Managing Health Costs with Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding platforms present many concerns that often go overlooked, particularly when fundraising for health costs.
The first issue is accountability. Most crowdfunding platforms do not include a way to verify that funds raised are spent on a patient’s medical needs.
Second, taxes are an issue. Raising funds through a nonprofit organization can lead to tax deductions for donors and the funds can be issued tax free to patient beneficiaries. That’s not the case with many crowdfunding platforms.
Finally, crowdfunding for health costs can impact a patient’s eligibility for Medicaid and SSI. Crowdfunding donations are counted as assets when Medicaid eligibility is considered. The amount of “countable assets” you can have and still qualify for Medicaid is usually about $2,000. If a patient exceeds this relatively low limit, they could lose their access to Medicaid and have to pay even more.
Overall crowdfunding tends to be a one-time opportunity without long-term sustainability. For patients who have a transplant or are living with a catastrophic illness or injury, challenges associated with uncovered medical expenses last for a lifetime. For example: yearly costs related to a spinal cord injury can top $1 million.
David Bakelman is the chief executive officer of HelpHOPELive, a nonprofit organization that has helped raise over $100 million for over 7,000 patients and families affected by transplantation, catastrophic illness or injury.
Two Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 100
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087