Residents of the Bradenton area benefit from medical debt relief.
About 750 people in Manatee County who have been burdened with medical debt will see this debt disappear just in time for the holiday season.
This gift will not come in a large red bag carried up a fireplace by Santa Claus, however. It will be mailed to you as a vague yellow envelope with only “RIP Medical Debt” noted in the upper left corner.
It is not a bill and it is not a joke.
If you received the yellow envelope, your medical bills have been erased, so you’ll want to open it and read the good news.
This was all made possible by two local churches and RIP Medical Debt, which is a national non-profit organization started by two former heads of collection agencies. The company takes local donations and then negotiates the value of overdue medical bills with area hospitals at about a penny on the dollar.
They target the area where donations are received, do their due diligence and buy that local debt using the donated funds, and clear those medical bills once and for all.
Palma Sola Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church raised $ 14,000. When attributed to RIP Medical Debt, it equates to over $ 1.4 million in debt purchased at a significantly reduced value.
“If we, as a church, can ease the burden on those with unpayable medical bills, calm their spirits, help them have more abundant lives, this is what Jesus calls us to do,” said Ted Land, transitional pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Palma Sola. .
Land said he heard of a church in Ohio raising enough money to write off the medical debt of everyone in their county. Both local churches immediately embraced the idea.
RIP Medical Debt uses analytical data to target people whose income is below the poverty line or whose debt is 5% more than their annual income.
The yellow envelopes will arrive in Manatee County this week.
“We feel blessed to have had this opportunity to associate in such a meaningful way and share the love of Jesus Christ in our community,” Land said.
This is an unusual way of delivering such good news when the envelope could be interpreted as yet another collection notice destined for the trash or someone assuming their junk mail.
“A lot of debtors are not inclined to open their mail, and if or when they read RIP’s letter, it sounds too good to be true,” said Daniel Lempert, media advisor for RIP Medical Debt.
There are no conditions attached and an email address is offered in the letter only as a means for anyone wishing to acknowledge that they have received the gift of medical debt relief. The email address isn’t for RIP Medical Debt, it’s for those in the community who raised the funds to make this all happen.