New health funding site aims to prevent fundraising fraud
Author: Melissa Zygowicz
Published: 5:48 PM CST March 1, 2019
Updated: 6:15 PM CST March 1, 2019
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – A Little Rock start up wants to help people raise money for their healthcare costs by also giving reassurance to donors.
We’ve all heard of GoFundMe. But sometimes people lie about their fundraising needs and honest people end up getting scammed. Matt Martin wants to put a stop to this.
"When they donate they know who the money is going to and where it's going towards,” Martin said.
For years, Martin worked to help people afford their pharmaceutical medications. He said through that work, recognized people have a really hard time paying for their healthcare.
"We started doing some research and found that over half of Americans could not afford a catastrophic healthcare event,” Martin said.
That's when CoFund Health was born. Martin launched it with his partner out of Raleigh, North Carolina last month. The website aims to prevent fundraising fraud.
"Our campaigns range from spina bifida, to cancer,” Martin said.
Martin said the concept is similar to GoFundMe, except the money is restricted and can only be used for health purposes.
"People cannot access the money directly. We give the campaign beneficiaries a benefit card right away, so as soon as they get a donation, they can spend the money immediately for their medications,” Martin said.
The card can only be used for doctor bills, prescriptions and health insurance premiums.
"Only the named beneficiary can access the funds,” Martin said.
Martin says CoFund Health helps to prevent cases like one out of New York last year. According to CBS News, a central New York couple pretended their 9-year-old son had blood cancer and raised over 3-thousand dollars through GoFundMe. The Cayuga County Sheriff's Office said Martin and Jolene LaFrance, of Port Byron, were charged with scheme to defraud, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child.
"It's unfortunate. So, we wanted to give honest people a better opportunity to raise money for the their healthcare needs and allow those with a big heart to feel confident their money is going where they intend it to go,” Martin said.
So far, dozens of families... have raised thousands of dollars through CoFund Health.
"We've got campaigns from California, North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas,” Martin said. “We want to give people the opportunity to raise money and provide trust to those that are trying to donate."
Martin said there is a five percent fee on the money raised, but he said the company tries its best to give the beneficiary as much money as possible.