The final count is in. These ‘dirtbag’ Philadelphians erased more than $2M in local medical debt.

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The final count is in. These ‘dirtbag’ Philadelphians erased more than $2M in local medical debt.​

A group of self-described mostly queer, gutter-pagan South Philadelphia dirtbags set out to erase a modest $1 million in local medical debt this summer.

Their final tally exceeded $2 million, according to the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which helped with the logistics of the purchase. The group not only raised enough money to buy all of Philadelphia’s medical debt available on the secondary market, they were able to buy some debt from Bucks and Delaware Counties — no strings attached.


When hospitals or physician groups have outstanding bills they have little chance of collecting from patients, they will go to a secondary market and sell their portfolios of debt for pennies on the dollar. Debt collectors can then step in, buy the portfolios, and resume the task of hounding patients for payments.

RIP Medical Debt, founded by two former debt collectors in 2014, is in the secondary market with a completely different goal after purchase: to forgive that debt.
... They raised more than $17,000 by the end of August. While they couldn’t solve the systemic problem of crushing medical debt experienced by families, they could help make some of it disappear.

“It does show how fake debt is in some ways,” said Hirschberg of how cheaply they could buy millions in debt for so little.

They raised $17K in donations, bought $2M medical debt on the secondary market, and forgave the debts.

Retired Colorado Rockies first baseman and Hall-of-Fame hopeful Todd Helton has found a new way to give back to the fans: By helping to free people of millions of dollars in medical debt.

Helton and the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt announced an agreement Monday that will erase over $10 million in medical bills for Colorado residents. Starting later this month, those benefiting from this gift will begin receiving letters in the mail saying that some or all of their medical debts are now "paid in full." The debts are also being eliminated as a charitable act, meaning there will be no tax ramifications for recipients.

"My good friend, Ryan 'Jume' Jumonville recently took care of $100M in medical debt for the people in his home state of Florida," Helton said in a statement. "I was inspired and wanted to do something similar for the people of Colorado."


Business Insider

41,000 people are about to get $240 million in medical debt cancelled thanks to an infusion of cash from Biden's pandemic aid​

  • Local governments received billions of dollars under Biden's 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.
  • Some are putting that money toward buying up people's medical debt and canceling it.
  • In Toledo, Ohio, 41,000 residents will see around $240 million in medical debt relieved.
Americans owe about $195 billion in medical debt, a 2022 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found, with almost one in 10 owing "significant debt."



Akron is Latest OH City to Retire Medical Debt​

Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, a number of cities and counties in Ohio and around the nation have used ARPA funding to retire medical debt.

Over the summer, Akron became the latest community in Ohio to adopt a plan to retire such debts.

The city council allocated $500,000 to purchase debts through the non-profit RIP Medical Debt. RIP in turn negotiates with hospitals and debt collectors to buy old debts for pennies on the dollar and then forgives them.


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