Crowd-funding medical costs

Patients looking to online fundraising to help cover medical expenses

Medical patients are increasingly using crowd-funding websites to help cover medical expenses.

Several fundraising websites similar to business-fundraising site Kickstarter—such as, and, and medical-focused—have launched in the last several years and are used to crowd-fund medical costs, according to Just this year, medical-fundraising site raised more than $20 million for more than 15,000 campaigns, compared to $225,000 for 359 campaigns in all of 2008.

Medical groups are using online fundraising methods, too. Rare Genomics Institute has used medical-fundraising sites for two years to help families pay for gene sequencing of patients with rare genetic diseases, an expensive procedure typically not covered by insurers.

Concerns have been raised about privacy and fraud issues, among other things.