The All Saints Episcopal Church in Bentonville has launched a massive initiative to erase over $24 million in medical debts for Arkansans in need. The church partnered with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which purchases debt at a discounted rate, thus forgiving it with no collection necessary.
Rev. Milford with All Saints Episcopal Church was concerned after seeing reactions on social media about the uptick in medical expenses and the inability to pay. In response, she reached out to RIP Medical Debt for help. The organization focuses on people who earn less than 2x the federal poverty level, have out-of-pocket expenses that are more than 5% of their annual income, and whose debts are greater than their assets.
"The individuals we are trying to help are those most in need... the reason why we can buy the debt off the market for so low is because the debt collectors know that the chances of collecting that debt are low," said Executive Director Allison Sesso.
Once the debt is paid for, the nonprofit will contact the impacted individual to inform them of their forgiven debt - with no additional action necessary. In December, Rev. Milford organized a statewide campaign to raise $172,000 that will be used to erase $24 million in medical debt across the state.
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