Your Guide to Medical Fundraising During Coronavirus in Australia
Now that we know the facts about coronavirus, it’s also become clear that the coronavirus pandemic will impact each and every one of us in one way or another. Whether directly impacted or indirectly — like supporting through a loved one facing hardship, financial pressures and associated anxieties will impact millions of Australians.
Hundreds of thousands have turned to GoFundMe in their time of need to fundraise for out of pocket medical expenses over the past decade. Covering the costs of medical treatment, drugs and trials may seem impossible while facing other coronavirus-related hardships. Here are our tips on medical fundraising during coronavirus in Australia.
Where to find financial resources
A recent survey found that 60% of Australians are stressed by the outbreak and worried about paying their bills during this period. On top of day-to-day living expenses, the costs of medical treatment can often be sudden and unexpected. If you are in need of rapid financial relief then there’s lots of support available.
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will likely be covered by Medicare, the foundation of the Australian health system and central funding organisation for most Australian’s medical expenses. Generally, Medicare will cover your out of pocket costs for medical care. The Medicare Safety Net ensures that if you have a lot of out of hospital costs, and they hit a threshold, the safety net will help you cover the gap.
Though Medicare covers many healthcare-related expenses, not everyone is eligible or covered. If you’re unsure, you can quickly find out what’s covered by visiting the Medicare website.
When you or a loved one falls sick, it’s unlikely you will know how much you should be expected to pay when it comes to specialised services. The Australian government has long been an advocate for transparency around public and private health costs and the Department of Health’s Medical Costs Finder can help you gauge how much you should expect to be paying.
Globally at GoFundMe, around a third of all new fundraising pages launched every day are for medical expenses. One of the most common requests for donations relates to long-term sickness and the associated costs, such as loss of wages and the cost of rent while relocating to be near specialists.
On top of coronavirus-related financial difficulties, it may be impossible for Australians to take the hit of these additional expenses right now. These charities have a long history of helping with financial relief for long-term sickness.
Ronald McDonald House: The temporary accommodation provided by Ronald McDonald House aims to provide a “home away from home” for seriously sick children and their families. Ronald McDonald House provides short and long-term accommodation for those who may have to relocate due to a family member’s long-term sickness. For many Australians, this may mean leaving their rural homes and travelling to the city, where rent is high and unaffordable.
Rare Cancers Australia (RCA): Founded in 2012, RCA is a dedicated team of professionals focused on helping Australians affected by rare and less common cancers. An estimated 42,000 Australians are diagnosed with a less-common cancer every year. RCA provides advocacy, resources and helps those diagnosed with a rare cancer, and their loved ones, navigate the system and support options available to them.
The Starlight Foundation: This Australian children’s charity is on a mission to help sick kids recover physically and mentally. For families of children diagnosed with an illness, they can seek resources and help for financial relief through the Starlight Foundation.
Anglicare: For people on low incomes struggling to pay for medical expenses, Anglicare is on hand to help with advocacy support for individuals and help negotiate lower fees. Aside from advocacy and advice, Anglicare also offers support with accessing accommodation, food, living expenses and housing.
Crowdfunding for coronavirus medical expenses in Australia
It is predicted that over 2 million Australians will lose their job due to the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you’re suddenly unemployed or find yourself on temporary leave for work, GoFundMe has plenty of resources and support programs available to help provide relief for the unemployed. These should help you with short-term financial relief and help bridge the gap for out of pocket medical expenses.
When medical treatment continues longer than expected, or specific medications are not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, many Australians turn to crowdfunding. Whether you’re in need of help to cover the costs of coronavirus — from medical treatment or being out of work — or another medical condition, crowdfunding for medical expenses has been a successful option for millions of people in need around the world.
Here’s how others are paying for medical expenses
Around 40 children are diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer, neuroblastoma, in Australia every year. When Marko Magic was diagnosed at just 16 months old, his family were made aware of an overseas clinical trial proving effective for children in the United States with the same condition. At a cost of $300,000, his family turned to GoFundMe to raise the funds to send Marko overseas for treatment.
Lisa was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer at the young age of 22. After three years of treatment, Lisa received the unfortunate and tragic news that her cancer had not only returned, but had spread to other parts of Lisa’s body. In response, her caring friends rallied together to raise over $160,000 to send Lisa overseas to pursue a new treatment option.
For Chris Poulis, the unforeseen medical expenses came after a day at the beach. After going for his regular afternoon surf, only to experience a fall and bang to the head. Despite getting rapid medical attention, the extent of Chris’ injuries have left him a quadriplegic. Thanks to the kindness and care of his community, over $120,000 has been raised to help Chris and his family with his long-term recovery and rehabilitation program.
Get help with coronavirus medical expenses today
There is, of course, never a good time to be diagnosed with an illness or long-term medical condition that will require an ongoing financial commitment. But the coronavirus can add another layer of stress at a time when Australians are struggling economically. Whether starting a free fundraising page for yourself, or on behalf of someone in need, check out our medical fundraising tips to help kick start your fundraising success.