More people than ever are running into medical bills that they can't pay, and they're turning to crowdfunding sites to ask for help.  And if you're like me, you've donated.

It's so stinkin' expensive to have any sort of surgery or hospital stay, isn't it?   I remember having a baby and thinking I needed to get out of there in a flash to save every bit of money that I could.  I had my daughter on a Tuesday at 4:30 pm, and we were outta there by Wednesday afternoon, to avoid another night's stay.  The doctor also cleared me to leave the hospital early after I had a hysterectomy.  I had the surgery on a Thursday morning and I left the hospital later that day so I could go home, sleep in my own bed, and save money on another night's stay.  The pain that night was terrible and the nurses might have been able to help me through it if I had stayed overnight, but the desire to save money made me grin and bear it away from that super medical expensive hotel.

A poll came out last week that said 8 million people in the U.S. have started a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for their own or a member of their household's healthcare costs, and at least 12 million more have started crowdfunding efforts for somebody else.  And fifty million of us have donated to those fundraising efforts.

Annual out-of-pocket costs keep going up, and that leaves a lot of Texans in a pinch.  A quick glance at GoFundMe shows quite a few people in Tyler asking for help on a relative's behalf.

I donated a couple of years ago to my friend Jamie, whose husband suffered a brain aneurysm one morning on the way to work and spent weeks in the hospital trying to regain his speech, think, and learn to walk again.  The medical episode attacked her husband, but the medical bills crippled her family and an enormous number of friends and family members chipped in to help.

If crowdfunding is not the new supplemental medical insurance, it sure is close.  Most of the people who set up a GoFundMe account start out with, "I hate to ask," or "This is the last resort..."   So it's not something that's easy to do and it's not an easy fix.

But with increasing out-of-pocket costs, crowdfunding medical bills shows no signs of slowing down.

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