Blog - RIP Medical Debt

News & Updates


Help Hope Live

Help Hope Live was founded in 1983 by a transplant surgeon and his wife, a nurse, when they saw their patients struggling to afford the cost of a heart transplant on their own—especially since insurance considered the life-saving procedure “experimental” and would not assist with the cost.

In 2011, Jerry Ashton was working in the debt collection industry and living in lower Manhattan’s financial district. There, he had front-row seats to the Occupy Wall Street gatherings and demonstrations based out of Zuccotti Park. Ashton, a former Navy journalist and naturally curious, began chatting with some of the activists, and he quickly found himself connecting with a working group that was dedicated to purchasing and paying off medical debt as a charitable act. The group’s mission was about more than retiring medical debt, though. It was about calling attention to the failings of […]

By Allison SessoExecutive Director, RIP Medical Debt About a decade ago Vanessa was working as a nurse in Massachusetts. She was married with a 6-year-old boy and an infant daughter when she needed a surgical procedure and decided to go to the hospital where she worked. That surgery, unfortunately, led to more after many complications were encountered. Over the next few years, she was hospitalized multiple times and even found herself in the ICU.  Vanessa was fully insured this whole time, but her copays were high and kept adding up. She had young children to […]

Two-thirds of all U.S. bankruptcies stem from medical debt, and one-quarter of all U.S. credit card debt is medical, according to nonprofit RIP Medical Debt. Since its launch in 2014, organizations have been teaming up with RIP Medical Debt to erase medical debts for local community members. For every $100 donation, RIP Medical Debt relieves $10,000 in medical debt.  The New York City-based nonprofit limits its debt purchases to people who earn less than twice the poverty level, have out-of-pocket medical expenses that total more than 5 percent of their income or face bankruptcy. Read More […]

A Clarksville church covered nearly $120,000 worth of the Peter family’s medical bills. Watch Video on Yahoo

When flight paramedic Rita Krenz boards a helicopter, she knows her patients are about to face problems she can’t fix — a health care system that buries people in debt after a car accident or stroke. So she decided to do something about it. She turned for help to RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that buys and relieves medical debt. Krenz started a fundraising campaign that brought in more than $18,000 for the charity. That money has helped RIP Medical Debt relieve the debt of more than 900 people so far, with the average bill […]

A church in Washington state raised more than $300,000 in an effort to relieve the burden of medical debt for families across the Northwest.  Now, families within six states who have been “held hostage” by their expenses will be cleared of their debt thanks to the combined efforts of Valley Real Life and RIP Medical Debt, the church’s outreach pastor Steve Allen told Fox News.  Read More on Fox News

Pastor Kenny Camacho has long believed the United States health caresystem is broken. Years ago, on the heels of a costly cancer scare in his family, his infant daughter fell off the changing table. The Annapolis, Maryland, family rushed to the hospital but hesitated outside for hours. His daughter ended up being fine, but he says he still remembers the fear of going into debt for medical treatment, which kept him from going in. “That feeling of being invisible and incapable of taking care of my family has stuck with me,” Camacho said. “That’s not how […]

Why do we need acts of charity to rescue Americans from crushing medical bills? Vanessa Matos couldn’t believe what she was reading. “I was like, OK, this is a scam,” she recalled of the letter she received in February. Her husband, she said, had the same reaction: “Yeah, this isn’t real.” But it was. Ms. Matos’s medical debt — more than $900 owed because of complications from surgery at the Massachusetts hospital where she had worked as a nurse — had been relieved by strangers at a church she had never been to. Adam Mabry, […]

That debt doesn’t just hurt your bank account—it can harm your health, too. What you must know now. Devin Barrington-Ward was doubled over with stomach pain. His chest hurt, too. Though his family urged him to call an ambulance and he was terrified that his condition was serious, Barrington-Ward had another concern on his mind: the expense. Uninsured, he knew he couldn’t afford the ambulance ride. So his mother raced him to a hospital near his home in suburban Atlanta that day in January earlier this year. After several hours in the emergency room, where […]

Therapy in New York City Costs as much as Three Months Rent

The majority of therapists in America’s most expensive city are not in network with your insurance During one of the biggest mental health and unemployment crises in modern history, the average cost of a 9-month course of therapy in New York City is $7,500. Consumers, many of whom already often pay for sessions via credit card, are now more likely to incur debt in order to cover the costs of their mental health care. Nirvana Health is partnering with RIP Medical Debt to help eliminate patient health care debt. The cost of mental health care […]

Do Something: Relieve Debt

A third of Americans have medical bills they cannot pay. A New York nonprofit has helped eliminate $2 billion of that debt for the poorest of them. Over decades of working low-paying jobs, with no health insurance benefits, Dreama Shaeffer—like thousands of other Americans—found herself early this year with thousands of dollars of medical bills she was unable to pay. A 54-year-old single mom, Shaeffer had bills that stemmed from injuries her now grown son suffered as a child; from doctors appointments to treat her early-onset osteoporosis; from a three-year-old emergency in which she stopped […]

The fallout from the spread of coronavirus has highlighted how many Americans are one disaster away from physical, emotional, or economic ruin. Now, while many await federal and state assistance, those in more secure financial positions have an opportunity to step up and help.  But with so many communities affected, it’s difficult to know where your time and dollars are best spent: Millions of uninsured Americans are at risk for catching the virus, could incur enormous medical bills for treatment, even if relief legislation promises to cover testing; salaried and hourly workers at nonessential businesses have suddenly […]

If there is one thing New Yorkers believe about themselves, it’s that no one pulls together quite as well during a crisis. Vigorous hand-washing, staying home, bumping elbows instead of hugging — we got that. But with more than 200 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York and more than 1,110 nationwide, some people are asking if they can do more to help. “It’s been so internally focused,” Chris Principe, 40, said of the advice he has heard from public officials. Mr. Principe, who lives in Brooklyn and is a video director at the publishing […]

Medical debt is not just a burden for countless Americans; it’s also the No. 1 source of personal bankruptcy filings in the country. But for some lucky folks, relief may be around the corner.  RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization that raises money to wipe out unpayable health-related debts, recently announced that it has successfully eliminated $1 billion (yes, you read that correctly) in medical debt for more than 500,000 people in all 50 states. Included in that figure is $65 million of medical debt carried by veterans.  Read more on The Ascent