Self pay and crowdfunding: patient consumers are getting creative.
We’ve blogged a fair amount about the things we think providers need to do to develop a sound self pay strategy and why.
Part of that discussion has been the advice to offer your patients options regarding their methods of payment, and our Apple Pay offers another great option for self pay blog detailed how this method heralded by Apple as a “breakthrough contactless payment technology” could and should be something healthcare providers take a close look at.
Today we’re going to focus on crowdfunding, another typically non-healthcare finance methodology that has our industry taking notice.
What is crowdfunding?
According to the aptly titled website whatiscrowdfunding.com, it is “an alternative method of raising finance for a business, project or idea. Unlike traditional forms of financing, in which one investor typically takes a larger stake in a project, with crowdfunding you can attract a ‘crowd’ of people – each of whom takes a small stake, and contributes towards an online funding target.”
Perhaps many of you are familiar with Kickstarter, a US company helping entrepreneurs in an array of industries, from film to food to music and technology and beyond, raise capital to fund their initiatives. Well, healthcare is catching on, as a recent FierceHealthFinance article points out.Citing a piece in the Los Angeles Times, the article states that crowdfunding “continues to take hold as a potential solution for cash-strapped Americans trying to pay for their medical care.”
The author shares details about recent successes in this regard, such as a campaign that raised $800,000 for experimental treatments for a young leukemia patient. And another that raised nearly $267,000 for an ALS patient. Impressive results to be sure, and it’s easy to see why healthcare is taking notice.
But crowdsourcing isn’t just for those combatting these types of serious illnesses. A number of websites have sprung up that offer relief for a variety of medical situations. GiveForward, for instance, provides the ability to personally fundraise for medical expenses resulting from illness or an injury, among other more serious situations.
FundRazr, which integrates seamlessly with Facebook, offers assistance covering “the costs of home care, mobility equipment, prosthetics, care dogs, pharmaceuticals, or holistic care” that normal insurance may not cover, as well as accident recovery, health travel, and disaster and tragedy relief.
One of the takeaways here is that in this age of patient consumerism, those shopping for the best, most affordable care possible are seeking unique and innovative ways to pay for it. A trend that is sure to continue.