Learn - RIP Medical Debt
We inform and deepen policy conversations about making our nation’s health care financing system more equitable and affordable.

About 23 million people across the U.S. owe an estimated $195 billion in medical debt

Medical debt is woven into our health care financing system and our economy. Our mission is to end medical debt. We have a unique model in that it combines the generosity of donors with debt industry expertise to produce a high volume of medical debt relief. The debt relief we provide reduces mental and financial distress for millions of people:

1/2
of US adults report skipping care due to concerns about cost. For Black, Hispanic and low-income adults, six in ten report delaying care.
3x
of US adults report skipping care due to concerns about cost. For Black, Hispanic and low-income adults, six in ten report delaying care.

Our guiding principle:

Medical debt is about the failures of policies and systems, not people.

Policy Domains

1 —
Affordable and comprehensive coverage.
Equitable access to affordable health coverage that covers the services people need and lowers out-of-pocket costs is the surest way to protect people’s health and financial well-being, enabling them to thrive and be productive members of their communities.
2 —
Easy access to and enrollment in financial assistance programs.
Although many health care providers offer financial help to patients struggling to pay medical bills, people often don't know they exist until it's too late. Helping providers communicate clearly and proactively enroll patients in financial assistance programs helps both sides avoid unnecessary stress, paperwork, and delays in care—all foundational for an equitable health system.
3 —
Banning extraordinary collection actions and monitoring medical debt.
Extraordinary collection actions (ECAs) harm people’s credit and ability to thrive economically, physically, and mentally. Ending harmful practices and monitoring medical debt and its impacts are critical to shaping policies that support people’s health and economic well‑being.

Recent Updates

Finally, Some Good News for People with Medical Debt; But It’s Just the Beginning

Medical debt is pervasive, affecting millions with deep consequences to their lives and families. With estimates as high as $195 billion in medical debt hanging over Americans heads, it is woven into our health care financing system and our economy. Though medical debt affects all people, it does not affect people equally.

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Beneficiary Stories

RIP’s philanthropic model mimics for-profit debt buyers by using fundraised dollars to purchase medical debt for pennies on the dollar.

Since 2014, RIP has abolished $6,748,483,828 in medical debt. Through our work, we aim to spur change by elevating the lived experiences of people saddled with medical debt. Our policy work is the next iteration of fulfilling our mission. Guided by the stories of our beneficiaries, we aim to inform and deepen policy conversations about how to make our nation’s health care financing system more equitable and affordable.

Debt Relief Story

“It’s been a struggle after my cancer and the red devil chemo I had to have, plus the radiation. It takes a toll on a person’s heart and soul.”

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— Connie

Debt Relief Story

“Many Americans are just one paycheck away from homelessness and living under the poverty line. I had no way to pay these bills and they were on my credit report for many years. I am so thankful that I now have health insurance and am able to avoid the emergency room.”

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— M.N.
Community Stories

Meet Betty

"From the deepest parts of my heart, I would like to extend my thanks to RIP Medical Debt and Fair Fight."

Georgia

Betty Holland has lived in Georgia all her life. She incurred the debt that we abolished in 2017, when she was back and forth between working in a plant making gas tanks for cars and seeing her heart specialist for testing. She worked full time and was insured During that time she was grateful to make a livable wage. Although she fared well at the plant, her health was unpredictable.

Community Stories

Meet Sheila

"When I got those letters in the mail I just cried. I am beyond touched and beyond grateful for your kindness and empathy."

Utah

Sheila happened to receive her Abolishment Letter on her birthday! The medical debt we were able to relieve goes back to a time in Sheila’s life when she felt vulnerable and unwell. She was back and forth between visits with specialists seeking the cause of her condition, and in and out of the E.R. receiving CT scans and treatment to manage her pain.

Community Stories

Meet Brandon & Felix

"That letter was the first real good news I’ve had in a while. I’m so happy [I no longer have] that debt."

Washington

After being priced out of Lynwood a city of Seattle where Brandon spent the majority of his life, he moved to Ellensburg, WA with his son, Felix. There the cost of living is more affordable and in the two years since relocating, Brandon has been able to pursue his college degree. A stable life for his son is the impetus for returning to school. Brandon’s mother lovingly made the move with them to help with raising Felix.