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While crowdfunding could help, you might find it a little distasteful because what it really amounts to is begging. You could go to Kickstarter, GiveForward or another similar site and create a campaign where friends, family members and sympathetic strangers could donate money to help you pay your bills. For your crowdfunding campaign to be successful you need to show why you’re deserving and you will need to outline specific needs. Successful crowdfunding efforts also include:
- Personalization, persistence and promotion
- Keeping potential donors abreast of what's happening with your campaign
- Creating new reasons for people to give
- Setting incremental deadlines designed to encourage people to donate
Do be aware that these sites do charge fees. For example, Kickstarter takes 5% of whatever amount of money you raise and also charges $.20 for each pledge plus 3%. The fee on Give Forward is 7.9%, plus $.50 for each transaction. This is to cover the costs of its online payment service provider and also to pay the company's developers and coaches.
Maybe this seems obvious but you could always put those medical bills on a credit card to satisfy your debts. If you choose a card with cash back, points or airline miles you could get some nice rewards in the process. However, this is not the best first step. Once you put your medical debt on a credit card you will no longer have any negotiating power. Plus, it's more than likely that you'll end up paying more in interest. Medical debt on a payment plan is generally interest-free. If you switch that debt over to a credit card you’re turning interest-free debt into an interest-barring debt. This means it will end up costing you more.
Look for help from a charity
There are a number of charities focused on specific illnesses or conditions. This is true of Crohn's disease, HIV, diabetes, breast cancer and many more. If your illness falls into one of these categories you should definitely contact the appropriate organization to see what financial help it might have available. In addition, there are government programs that could help. For example there are government programs that offer cash monthly for people that have disabilities and are having a problem making ends meet. The Social Security Administration offers a good deal of user-friendly information on the disability benefits it offers. It’s available at www.SSA.gov/dibplan. You might be eligible for this program if:
- You are unable to do the work you did before you became disabled
- The SSA determines that there is no other work you could do because of your medical condition(s)
- The disability you are experiencing is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.