California Health Report: More Calif. Residents Turn to Crowdfunding To Pay Medical Expenses

By Linda Childers

When Sara Wysuph of Santa Cruz learned that her brother-in-law, Jason Jones had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, she was determined to help him and his family get the financial and emotional support they needed.

“Several months before Jason was diagnosed, a friend of ours held a crowdfunding campaign to help offset her costs relating to breast cancer,” Wysuph says. “After seeing how it allowed her to focus on her recovery rather than worrying about debt, my husband and I decided to sponsor a similar campaign on for Jason and his family.”

Wysuph is one of many Californians turning to crowdfunding to raise money for out-of-pocket medical expenses such as co-pays, transportation, medication and durable medical equipment. The practice of crowdfunding first became popular with startups and artists who found they could secure funding for their projects on websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Soon sites including,,, and, launched to help consumers raise money for medical expenses, as well as tuition, funeral expenses and more. In return for facilitating such campaigns, where donor can give amounts of $1 and up, these sites typically charge a processing fee of 7 to 12 percent on all donations received.

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