How crowdfunding proved to be a low-cost healthcare financing option

A human tragedy can show both the best and the worst face of humanity. Crowdfunding is a nameless weapon that is saving lives from many years but it took a pandemic to get the recognition it deserves. It has proven to be a lifeline for thousands of people. It has helped them to afford medical expenses when the unemployment rate rose to 7.5% in the first three months in India.

Medical crowdfunding has surfaced as a growing field for fundraising openings. Some environmental trends have driven the emergence of juggernauts to raise finances for medical care. These trends include lack of medical insurance, profitable counter reaction following the 2008 fiscal collapse, and failings of health care regulations. Even before the pandemic, India had nearly 30% or 42 crore of its population devoid of any health insurance with actual numbers being higher. During the Covid-19 pandemic crowdfunding platforms helped charitable organizations to raise funds for medical aid. The number of medical fundraising campaigns has been swelling since the outbreak of Covid-19 and so is the donation amount and numbers.

The concept of healthcare insurance is still foreign to lower and middle class people leaving 75% of healthcare expenditure coming from the pockets of households. Crowdfunding is shaping the healthcare system of India by offering a chance of decent healthcare to everyone. Medical crowdfunding in many ways is fighting the disparity which exists in the healthcare system and giving a solution to the challenges.

As the second wave of Covid-19 was intensifying in India we encountered heart-wrenching images of people struggling to get medical care and equipment in metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai every day. Now imagine the situation of rural India where medical facilities are already inaccessible. These areas were no longer just a receptor for returning migrants in the current wave. The paucity of testing facilities, poor surveillance system, the infeasibility of health services due to lack of transports and storage of medical staff, and weak medical care in all aspects, was making rural India a new hotspot for Covid-19.

In 2021 the Sukarma Foundation started a campaign to provide digital healthcare facilities to a tribal village Mehragaon. The burden of Covid-19 almost broke healthcare but crowdfunding opened many new ways of lowering the burden through its viability and no investment.

Medical fundraising campaign

With the advancement of crowdfunding technology it is now possible to open a medical fundraising campaign in less than five minutes and the success rate of campaigns is much higher. Medical crowdfunding is a viable option to finance volition, reciprocal, experimental and scientifically inadequately supported curatives not financed by the health insurance fund.

Analysis of the most common conditions and diseases listed in crowdfunding campaigns might give guidance for public health insurance finances in extending their list of funded medical interventions. The fact of multitudinous individualities launching crowdfunding campaigns with the same conditions and diseases signals high unmet requirements for available but not yet financed treatment.

Crowdfunding is bridging the gap between healthcare and people by allowing people to try a variety of crowdfunding methods. Donor-based crowdfunding is still the most popular but many people have also tried reward based crowdfunding and private crowdfunding to meet their donation goals. It is changing the healthcare landscape and solving the deep rooted problems of our healthcare system. In pandemic, crowdfunding is the boon but surely it will keep flourishing even after the pandemic ends.

(The writer is Founder & CEO of Crowdera, a crowdfunding platform)

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