Mountain Project Logo

GoFundMe or not?!!?


Original Post
Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,360

I'm curious, what do you think about these GoFundMe accident people? My knee jerk reaction is to be appalled at the beggary. The GoFundMe, "my camera got stolen" shit has got to go, but the accident people are a more complex moral case.

My questions are:

-Why don't you have health insurance?

-Why should I pay for your lack of foresight? (Even though we all pay anyway when you go to the ER and don't pay)

-If the money is for hospital bills wouldn't all the money just go directly to a massive corporation that could could simply write off your non-payment or you would just be paying them a monthly sum? Do donations even make a dent?

-If you don't have the money for health insurance in the first place how would you ever pay off $100k+ medical bills without bankruptcy?

-If you aren't going to use the money for hospital bills, what would it be used for?

Seriously, make an argument to convince me that the donation requests are legitimately helping people that really need and deserve the help. Personal stories encouraged.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Good question - you had my initial reaction, "Why don't they have health insurance?" But now I know a couple where the husband has serious medical issues. He can't work anymore. They have health insurance, but there are many extraneous expenses. She has to drive him to Stanford for appointments, so they have travel expenses and she has to take off work.  Those involve overnight stays, since it's four hours away (motels, gas, meals, etc.) Add up large deductibles and co-pays, and it starts adding up. Now I can see where there are many more expenses than just the immediate medical bills the insurance covers. 

I would be reluctant to use gofundme for anything, as my pride wouldn't want me to. Hard to say what I'd do in the situation where my savings were dwindling and I needed the help.

I hope this doesn't turn into a debate on health care in America and the need for single-payer, blah, blah, and blah.

Edit: If someone doesn't have health insurance, they've screwed up.

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 235
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 568

Even with health insurance, a family's deductible might be >$10,000. That's a lot of money for most people.

Going to the ER is not a panacea. It's not going to get you PT or rehab, or non-emergency surgery. 

Probably a splint, not a cast for a fracture. Maybe not a fracture reduction.

If you owe $100k you will probably go bankrupt.

If you don't want to give, then don't give.

I don't mind the requests, as long as the gofundme beggars stay off the Free Gear Thread- that's totally unacceptable!

GDavis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 10

I think it depends on if u are a bernie supporter or nah. Socialism is great if you are on the receiving end.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 108

Okay, GoFundMe is a dumb way to pay your medical bills.

But what other choice do people have? It's easy to criticize but people aren't offering better alternatives.

Some people can't afford health insurance. And if you do have health insurance, health insurance won't necessarily keep you from going bankrupt.

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

Both my wife and I are RNs. Presumably, we'd have great insurance through the hospital we work for. We don't. It's totally crappy.

Not starting a GoFundMe page for the baby we just had but I bet he'll be 15k. 

I have co-workers who have had serious injury or illness and racked up huge medical bills and they had "full coverage". They're basically indebted to the hospital for life. 

Maybe these beggars are insured but their employer f'd them in the a with their plan.

I miss the days I was eligible for Medicaid.

climberish · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 10

I recently had a serious accident that required multiple surgeries. I ended up with around $9,000 in bills when all was said an done between my deductible, 80/20 split til the out of pocket maximum, and some mandatory medical service not covered by my health insurance. Health insurance isn't some magic erase button. As a grad student living on less than $25,000 a year to pay rent, food, bills etc I really benefited from a gofundme that was set up by my climbing community. In total around $1500 was raised, which helped me immensely. Outsourcing the cost to others that at the time have money to spare is really efficient. Everywhere I have been the climbing community has provided a sense of camaraderie in so many ways. So why should this be any different? If you can help then help, if not then don't. Its as simple as that. 

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,346

Asking for money because you conscientiously chose not to buy health insurance is a bit inappropriate, but occasionally there are mitigating factors.

One legitimate cause I could see would be if you had health insurance but the company denied your claim or they only issued partial payment. This is not uncommon. Health insurance companies have caps on individual line items and those caps are not easily available for review for the policy holder. Your medevac bill might be $10,000 but the health insurance company could say the max they will pay for that line item is $2,000 and there is little to no way to possibly know this when buying the policy.

In other cases some health insurance companies dont process claims efficiently. I once had to deal with the billing department with my health insurance and it took nine months for them to pay my ER bill because they kept losing my claim and messing the paperwork up. Obviously that's not my fault and I did my do diligence in buying health insurance to cover myself.


Many people criticize the ACA, but there are several provisions in it that increased the quality of the product you're buying. Prior to the ACA there were plans on the market that claimed to offer "full coverage" but they had absolutely massive deductible and co-payments that were upwards of $15,000+ for an individual. Some also provided little or no coverage out of network so if you were not lucky enough for the ER to take you to a hospital that happened to be in network (which you obviously cant check in a real emergency), then you were completely SOL in many cases. Others had lower deductibles and co-payments but heavily restricted the type and quantity of services you can obtain. Most of that stuff is illegal now under the ACA.


Health insurance is a very ominous product and even if you read your policy cover to cover and fully comprehend every word of it, in the end it's still very hard to know what exactly it is that you're buying and when it comes time to file a claim you might find you have less coverage than you thought.

Jason Antin · · Golden, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 1,275
highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion wrote:

...Not starting a GoFundMe page for the baby we just had but I bet he'll be 15k...

Sounds about right.  


As many folks have mentioned above, you could easily rack up between $10-40k with "good" health insurance....

I'm not saying that the GoFund route is the best option, but understand that it's not as black and white as irresponsibly not having health insurance then begging for money.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 867

Only 15 years ago a person could get great coverage, low deductible, med pay for only 50 per month employed or not.  Today, it cost an individual 300-400 per month.  The affordable care act is neither.  

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,346
Greg D wrote:

 Today, it cost an individual 300-400 per month.  The affordable care act is neither.  

Most of those $50 plans you speak about were complete shit and all but short of a utter scam. They covered basically nothing and had insane deductibles and co-payments. I had one of those plans and when I filed my one and only claim for the most basic doctor's office visit, they only covered one dollar on the whole bill. That was for an in-network provider too. As such, at least in part, the reason why modern plans can be more expensive is because you're actually buying a real insurance plan as opposed to a shell that sounds great on paper but is otherwise shit.

Also, not everyone has experienced higher costs. I looked into healthcare before the ACA and a legit plan was more than $300 a month and I was in the best shape of my life, non-smoker, no family history of anything and the company did not ask about climbing or other dangerous sports. Now I can get a similar plan for half the cost on the market or 1/4th the cost through my employer. It all depends on the person.

The ACA certainly has shortcomings and it can increase the cost for some people due to the laws regarding preexisting conditions, lifetime caps, gender nondiscrimination and other factors. However, the bill has increased the holistic quality of health insurance coverage by outlawing many of the previous shit plans that covered nothing (little did their policyholders know until they filed a claim) and imposing minimum quality requirements on existing plans.

IMO, one of the flagship benefits to the ACA is that all ER care must be considered in-network in a sense that the insurance company cannot deny the claim because you did not stay in the network. This was a massive issue with some policies beforehand because some plans would reject a claim entirely or seriously limit coverage if you went out of network, even if it was for an emergency. This in effect undermined the entire concept of health insurance because in a true emergency you cannot check to see what is in network and what is not.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,360

Good responses.

I have friend, didn't make much money, under 30k, wasted his leg bouldering, never had to pay a dime because the gov picked it up due to the ACA. So basically you're good as long you make under a certain amount of $ and are eligible for gov coverage?

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

When used to help people in genuine need or worthy causes, go fund me is an amazeing way to help people out.  The guy who started one to pay for his lost #2 camalot needed to be kicked in the nuts.  On the other end of the spectrum the health care system in this country sucks. If someone gets hurt or sick they lose everything . obama care is better than the zero coveradge we had before but it still leaves you with a huge bundle of debt. Additionaly you can't work if you are too sick or hurt. What the FCK is wrong with you people  that you have gotten to the point that you feel the need to spray on the internet that helping someone in need is bad??  

I am not rich by any means but I donate to most of the go fundmes for illness and injury that come my way regardless of weather or not I even know the person.   one of my music friends just had a stroke. He is a full time musician. His job is to play guitar and sing. can't do that very well when you can't move your arm or even talk. We raised bunch on Go fund me and also put together a benifit concert.  It is an incredibly sad state of affairs that we are in when people are not only too cheap to help out a stranger in need or even their friends in need but they also feel the need to try and convince other people  that it is a bad thing to donate  to the needy.        

On annother note, Crag VT is trying to buy a pretty cool cliff and they are trying to raise money for it. the go fund me went up yesterday and only has 170 bucks in it so far.  this kind of highlights what a selfish bunch we climbers are. Heck I will never go there so why should I help........

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,360
Nick Goldsmith wrote:

When used to help people in genuine need or worthy causes, go fund me is an amazeing way to help people out.  The guy who started one to pay for his lost #2 camalot needed to be kicked in the nuts.  On the other end of the spectrum the health care system in this country sucks. If someone gets hurt or sick they lose everything . obama care is better than the zero coveradge we had before but it still leaves you with a huge bundle of debt. Additionaly you can't work if you are too sick or hurt. What the FCK is wrong with you people  that you have gotten to the point that you feel the need to spray on the internet that helping someone in need is bad??  

I am not rich by any means but I donate to most of the go fundmes for illness and injury that come my way regardless of weather or not I even know the person.   one of my music friends just had a stroke. He is a full time musician. His job is to play guitar and sing. can't do that very well when you can't move your arm or even talk. We raised bunch on Go fund me and also put together a benifit concert.  It is an incredibly sad state of affairs that we are in when people are not only too cheap to help out a stranger in need or even their friends in need but they also feel the need to try and convince other people  that it is a bad thing to donate  to the needy.        

On annother note, Crag VT is trying to buy a pretty cool cliff and they are trying to raise monely for it. the go fund me went up yesterday and only has 170 bucks in it so far.  this kind of highlights what a selfish bunch we climbers are. Heck I will never go there so why should I help........

I think the reluctance to give has to do with priorities. I know many of us have probably forgone a free life on the road because we know that we need to focus on supporting ourselves by working on a good career with decent benefits. Maybe the accident is no fault of a person but now they need the $ because they've been focusing on their climbing instead of focusing on building a stable lifestyle.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20
Tradiban wrote:

Good responses.

I have friend, didn't make much money, under 30k, wasted his leg bouldering, never had to pay a dime because the gov picked it up due to the ACA. So basically you're good as long you make under a certain amount of $ and are eligible for gov coverage?

I am going to call your friends' story BS. 

If he had NO INSURANCE his medical expenses would not be covered under any plan, it could be a write-off for hospital.

If he purchased insurance through ACA marketplaces, he paid for it, so government did not pick up his tab. And, those plans are not that great.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,790
Greg D wrote:

Only 15 years ago a person could get great coverage, low deductible, med pay for only 50 per month employed or not.  

So not true, at least in NY state. Health insurance outside an employment group was running 500+/month 14 years ago. (Source - I was between jobs)

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

Part of the problem is people suing for retarded reasons. This means all medical people out there now pay tons of money to try to protect themself from leaches. Than we have the problem of at least 50% of the people are stupid and don't know how to manage money. I have had tons of friends who were complete idiots and wasted everything they ever made than expected people to help them out when they needed it.

I hate the fact that I have to have insurance or I die. It cost something like 40-50k a year for medicine to keep me alive if I did not have insurance. I have it hard to believe it cost that much for medicine that has been around for dozens of years. 

Either way I know I have to deal with it so I have made sacrifices to get a good job that pays well and gives good insurance. Doesn't mean I don't want to quit my job and go live in my jeep for the next 10 years or that I have not had other job offers that I think would be really fun jobs but would not give insurance and I could not take them. I don't care about money I can live off next to nothing so I have tons of money saved up in the bank that I use alot of times to help pay for friends to travel on trips with me.

Tee Kay · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 110

When I was living on under 11K/year in montana, surviving just fine with roommates, mind you, I couldn't find an affordable coverage plan (300+$/month) so i had to get a waiver. That was fine and I was lucky I didnt need to go to the doctor at all and that my dentist liked me and let me pretend i had insurance (which still meant my visits/fillings cost around 800$.)

Now I have more affordable care through my employer, but lets be real, most guides dont get insurance through their employers, and most dirtbags arent making enough for that.

I have gut instincts and issues with gofundme for these types of things, too.
But I understand shit happens and if you wanna help a friend out, do it.

Not everything is cut and dry.

Sometimes you rack up 80K initially and then catch another bone infection. You still are shitting in a bag. Now you cant guide anymore (that was your job)  or whatever.

Sometimes youre a spoiled kid asking for help to make an album-in which case: GTFOH.

Or you're a friend who lost everything in Hurricane Harvey, I did what i could to help him out.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 745

All the accident-related GoFundMe campaigns that i have seen are usually started by friends of the family, not by the accident victim him/herself. There is a distinction, to me.

And in most cases of such fundraisers people DO have insurance. But you are often looking at out-of-pocket costs of $6k-10k+, just for medical bills. And that is assuming that you weren't taken to out-of-network hospital while you were unconscious, and now have to pay double.

And the insurance doesn't cover a lot of things.

For example, if your spouse has to take time off work to care for you once you are discharged from the hospital, but still bedridden/needing care/rides to appointments/ PT, etc. Hiring a home aide, or having a PT come to your house for the initial appointments. And then there are those pesky coverage limits. Your PT is covered... for 20 visits a year. After a major surgery, you might be having intensive PT 3 times a week.. 6 weeks into it, you are out of your  "covered" visits, and nowhere near rehabbed.

And what happens to your insurance if you get your insurance through your job, but you aren't able to work all of a sudden? Medical leave is relatively short, you can easily burn through your 12 weeks and still be unable to work at the end of it, after a major accident (and this assumes that you are lucky to work for company that would keep you on their employment list while you are on medical leave... a lot of climbers work menial jobs for small businesses that don't/can't do that). And once you are on unpaid leave... guess what? You have to pay for your insurance yourself, your employer no longer pays their portion, you might not be able to keep the insurance you had through work, and if you change insurance, all the deductibles start over again.

Hospitals don't write off things easily. not until they go after you hard, and try to recover their money. And you will be getting bills not from just one hospital, but from dozens of different entities. After my shoulder surgery, I had separate bills from anesthesiologist, labs, surgeon, hospital, and, of course, PT. In case of an accident, add an ambulance ride, and a helicopter transfer, and figure that there would be bills from multiple surgeons, bc one operated on your ankle, and the other operated on your arm, and the other one did the abdominal surgery...

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 867
Tradiban wrote:

Good responses.

wasted his leg bouldering, never had to pay a dime because the gov picked it up due to the ACA.

Umm, the government doesn't pay for anything.  It does, however, take from one person and give it to another. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "GoFundMe or not?!!?"
in the General Climbing

Log In to Reply