I recently found out about an intriguing non-profit—RIP Medical Debt.
I’ve posted many times about the high cost of healthcare, even for those of us with health insurance. Medical debt is still a leading cause of personal bankruptcies in this country.
What if those debts could just disappear?
For a lucky few, they can.
RIP Medical Debt, Inc., was founded in mid-2014 by two former collections industry executives, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton. Having worked for decades in the medical field, the two were acutely aware of the number of Americans who shoulder the burden of unpaid medical debt, and the enormity of that debt. They also knew that they were uniquely qualified to help. Using their experience and connections within that world, they developed a strategy to aggressively tackle this scourge.
How RIP Medical Debt works
RIP Medical Debt collects donations from individuals and corporations. That money then enables them to purchase medical debt—for pennies on the dollar—from debt collection agencies.
Through sophisticated data analytics, RIP analyzes its medical debt portfolios to pinpoint those who are most in need of relief and then negotiates to purchase this debt for a significantly reduced amount – rates typically made available only to large organizations in the debt buying industry.
According to the website, RIP Medical Debt can buy $5,000 worth of medical debt for only $50!
Typically, a forgiven debt is considered taxable income by the IRS. What makes RIP Medical Debt‘s service work is that they consider it a “gift.” In other words, it can’t be taxed.
Once this debt is in our possession, it is abolished as a gift from RIP to the patient. No strings attached. A gift made possible by complete strangers. People, bailing out people.
John Oliver helps out
Last month the late night TV host John Oliver brought RIP Medical Debt to the attention of a lot of people, myself included.
Forming his own debt collection company, he was able to buy up $15 million of medical debt for only $50,000. He coordinated the effort with RIP Medical Debt so the debts would be forgiven as gifts.
Here’s the segment from his show, Last Week Tonight.
If you need help
Money magazine picked up the John Oliver/RIP Medical Debt story and wrote an article with useful tips for dealing with medical debt.
On its website, RIP Medical Debt has an application page for those seeking help.
Staff and resources permitting, we will contact your medical providers to negotiate the sale of this debt to RIP. Stringent financial standards must be met, and there is no guarantee that the physician or hospital will meet our terms. Worth a shot? If you think so, so do we.
They offer a special program for veterans.
If you are in the opposite position and would like to help make these debt forgiveness “gifts” possible, you can also make a donation to the cause via the website.