Local churches stepping up to help forgive medical debt
With crippling medical bills impacting so many in our area, two local churches are partnering up with a national charity to cancel medical debt.
MORGANTON, N.C. (WBTV) - With crippling medical bills impacting so many in our area, two local churches are partnering up with a national charity to cancel medical debt. They’re raising money that will lift the burden for many families all across the United States.
To do this, they’re using the same model debt collectors use, but instead of demanding the money be repaid, it’s forgiven.
The churches are hoping to raise close to twenty-thousand dollars. That’s not going to make a deep impact in canceling debt, but it’s how they use the money that’s the key.
“We realized what a concern this was,” said Paul Carlson.
It’s a problem that can put a family in a hole they can’t dig their way out of.
“It’s the number one cause for bankruptcy in this country. It is something that grows exponentially with each passing year,” Pastor Marshall Jolly pointed out.
And an issue not many people are ready for.
“Almost half of Americans didn’t have four hundred dollars for a medical expense,” according to RIP Medical.
A surprise medical bill can happen anytime and blindside the person to who it’s made out to. Non-payment can mean bill collection calls, damage to your credit score and even lawsuits. But now two churches in Morganton are stepping up in this time of giving to lend a hand.
“It’s been a great blessing to be a part of this,” the Pastor told WBTV’s Ron Lee.
Paul Carlson is the pastor at Calgary Lutheran. His congregation has helped raise around ten grand to go toward forgiving medical debt. But they can parlay that into over a million dollars.
“So instead of collecting on it, RIP Medical just forgives it. And it’s a thing of beauty.”
Here’s how it works: when someone can’t pay off their medical bills, that debt is sold for pennies on the dollar usually to a collection firm. If they can’t collect, it’s sold again to another agency. What RIP Medical does is purchase the debt at that point and with help through money raised by charities are able to forgive the debt.
“We purchase the debt in these large bundle portfolios for a fraction of their face value. And that means one dollar raised by a non-profit can abolish one-hundred dollars in medical debt,” said Daniel Lampert with RIP Medical.
Marshall Jolly with Grace Episcopal Church who is also part of the fundraising efforts says in this time of giving, the help is needed more than ever.
“It makes us feel like we’re practicing what we preach.”
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