COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thousands of residents could be free of medical debt under a new plan by the Columbus City Council.
Council Chair Shannon Hardin and Protem Chair Rob Dolans will host hearings on Monday on legislation allowing the city of Columbus to enter into a contract with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt. The organization works with cities across the country to reduce health care debt for low-income families.
“When we learned that other cities and counties were using U.S. Relief Plan funds to specifically target low-income residents who had been in medical debt for years, we removed some. It seemed like a very interesting way of doing things, those economic barriers,” Drance said.
RIP Medical Debt is modeled by two former debt collectors, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton.
RIP Medical Debt buys debt like any other debt collection company, except instead of pursuing profit, it sends the consumer a notice that the debt has been settled.
To date, RIP Medical Debt has purchased $6.7 billion of outstanding debt and has relieved the debt of 3.6 million people. According to this group, it costs an average of $1 to pay off $100 of debt.
“The more I dug into this, the more I thought this was a really great way to make people coming out of the pandemic more resilient. It will be a reimbursement agreement until an agreement has been made to forgive certain portions of the debt and transfer the funds.No City funds will go to them until it is clearly outlined.” Drance said.
Those who qualify are:
- People must be below 400% of the poverty line.
- You must be a Columbus resident
- Your debt must be related to OhioHealth, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, Mount Carmel Health System, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Members of the public who wish to provide in-person or written testimony at Monday’s hearing should email Zak Davidson at ZGDavidson@columbus.gov with the subject line “Speaking at the Medical Debt Public Hearing” by noon on Monday before the hearing. must be sent.
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