From RIP Medical Debt’s New Executive Director, Allison Sesso
We are in this together.
While we must be physically distant, now is the time for community. This pandemic is worldwide, but there are unique implications for the United States because of the strong link between coverage and cost in our health care system. We can expect this old problem to take on new dimensions as the fiscal pressures on families and health care providers are exacerbated.
We know this pandemic will worsen the medical debt crisis by creating additional debt for millions of under and uninsured as they seek treatment at an average estimated cost of $20,000 (healthsystemtracker.org) per person. Many will lose the ability to pay pre-COVID-19 related medical debts due to massive job loss, which could be as high as 10.6% (forbes.com).
According to a new poll from the Commonwealth Fund and NBC News, 68% of Americans say the potential out-of-pocket costs associated with tests or treatment would be either very or somewhat important in their decision to seek care. This finding makes clear what too many Americans already know; the cost of care increasingly dictates access to treatment.
But, at RIP, we are optimists. We have experienced firsthand the power of community. Our mission fosters fellowship by enabling the average person to remove the medical debt burdens overwhelming American families and we are ramping up our ability to expand this work in light of this compounding crisis.
Over the next week, we’ll be rolling out COVID-19 specific efforts designed to target debt relief to the heroes of this crisis – our health care professionals. We’ll also focus on the families struggling to make ends meet as a result of COVID-19 related job loss.
Together we can help propel the economic recovery of our communities and minimize the hardship of families resulting from this extraordinarily challenging moment.
We hope you will join us. Keep an eye out for upcoming communications with additional details.