Not coincidentally for an agricultural area, helping a neighbor in need has always been part of the Central Washington ethos. In the cities, towns and on the farms, people have been quick to lend a hand to somebody who needs it. The modern-day technological revolution has not changed that mindset; in fact, technology enables people not only to help, but to share stories about their struggles.
While the Affordable Care Act has expanded access to millions of people around the country, it doesn’t cover all costs that a patient may encounter when treating a condition. Out-of-pocket expenses easily can run into the thousands of dollars, which puts a real strain on people living in areas like the Yakima Valley, where incomes lag behind those of the rest of the state.
A recent story in the Yakima Herald-Republic detailed how online fundraising campaigns help folks with medical bills – a 21st-century take on the practice of placing a money jar on a store counter with a note describing a person’s needs. Called crowdfunding, these online efforts allow friends, friends of friends and complete strangers to donate to someone who needs help with medical costs.
It doesn’t stop there; the platform also provides a way for the patients to educate readers about their disease and treatments. It can frequently lead to a discussion that illuminates an issue for everyone involved.
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One of the most popular sites for medical contributions is GoFundMe, which keeps track of the number of donors and the amount of donations. Since 2010, when the company was founded, medical donations statewide have risen from $165,688 to almost $200 million in just the first eight months of 2015.
In the not-so-recent past, people helped their neighbors and friends with a check in hand, not a click online.
This is excerpted from the Yakima Herald-Republic.