Hoping for Medical Debt Relief? This Nonprofit Just Might Help
It may sound like a joke or a scam, but there’s a nonprofit organization called RIP Medical Debt that might pay off your medical debt. Yep, all of it.
According to the organization’s website, RIP Medical Debt has paid off more than $6.7 billion of other people’s medical bills over the past eight years.
Healthcare costs take a big chunk out of people’s budgets. That’s particularly true for people being treated for multiple sclerosis. Compared with a healthy person, someone with MS may average over $65,000 in medical bills and lost wages each year. A Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study reported two years ago that more than 75% of people with MS in the U.S. are facing financial hardship — what the report calls “financial toxicity” — due to their MS expenses. Some must choose between paying for care and paying for food.
Enter RIP Medical Debt
Two former debt collection industry executives created RIP Medical Debt in 2014 with a concept that seems pretty simple: They collect cash donations and use them to buy large bundles of medical debt from collection agencies, hospitals, and healthcare groups. This is usually accomplished for pennies on the dollar, because medical debts are difficult to collect. The group says a $100 donation can buy $10,000 worth of debt.
“No one chooses to get sick. No one chooses to be in an accident. No one chooses to be born with a chronic health condition. These things happen to people,” RIP Medical Debt Director of Communications Daniel Lempert said in an interview with badcredit.org, a website that focuses on debt education. “We provide a financial benefit for individuals. We wipe out debts.”
Don’t call them; they’ll write you
RIP Medical Debt has a top-rated 100% score from Charity Navigator, and its website says it has wiped out medical debts for more than 3.6 million individuals and families so far. But you can’t ask for its help. Your debt needs to be among the packages of debt that RIP Medical Debt has purchased. These packages contain the names of thousands of people with medical debt. If you’re on one of those purchased lists, to qualify for help, your income needs to be no more than twice the U.S. federal poverty level — about $55,000 for a family of four this year — or you must have debts totaling 5% or more of your family’s annual income.
Lempert tells me his organization sends out up to 50,000 letters a month stating: “We are sending this letter to share the good news that on behalf of a national donor, you no longer owe the referenced debt(s) because our national 501(c)(3) nonprofit, RIP Medical Debt, has bought and abolished the debt.”
Here’s a sample letter:
If you qualify, you just might find one of those letters in your mailbox one day. That’s no joke.
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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.