Healthcare reforms seem to be happening left and right, but one thing still remains a problem: finances. It doesn’t seem to matter how many new programs are put in place, or how much new technology is added to existing systems; if the average American can’t afford basic healthcare, none of it will matter.
Organizations have long been aware that those people most in need of medical care are often the ones who can’t afford it, but raising the money to cover medical costs for those in need has always been a struggle. A few industry experts are noting that new fundraising campaigns, such as the recent Ice Bucket Challenge may be required in order to change the healthcare industry.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, which has been taking social media platforms by storm in the past few weeks, involves choosing between dumping a bucket of ice water over one’s head or donating money to the ALS Association (and of course, including a video or picture of your choice), and then nominating a few friends to complete the challenge themselves within 24 hours. As ridiculous as the Challenge sounds, it ended up raising over $100 million for the ALS Association in just one month — a sum that is almost too impressive to believe.
Not only has the Ice Bucket Challenge raised money for a worthy healthcare cause, but it has also spread awareness of the disease and it may even allow the ALS Association to continue providing funds for ALS care and research well into the future. But for many Americans suffering from an assortment of medical conditions — whether they’re as serious as ALS or just minor frustrations like a reoccurring cold — finances have been, and will continue to be, a hindrance to receiving the medical care that they desperately need. Even huge reforms like the recent Affordable Care Act seem murky at best, and many Americans are simply afraid to ask for help or have been denied help in the past.
“Generally patients can ask for discounts when they come in to get medical care,” says Terri Porter, Doctors Express Clinic Manager. “It is also possible to ask for payment arrangements for help with paying medical bills. People also need to understand their insurance plans to help know what is and is not covered, insurance companies can pick and choose what they will and will not cover.”
While fundraising campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge may be able to change the healthcare industry in the future, it’s clear that countless Americans are struggling with medical bills at the moment. Unless more affordable options are made available, big industry-wide reforms may not be effective at all.