Local governments in Ohio, Illinois use COVID-19 aid to erase medical debt

Local governments in Toledo, Ohio, and Cook County, Ill., are using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to erase medical debt for eligible residents, the Wisconsin Examiner reported Nov. 28.

Toledo modeled their plan after Cook County and partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that buys medical debt from hospitals in bundles at a much lower price. To qualify, Toledo residents will have to earn a household income of less than four times the federal poverty level and have medical debt that is more than 5 percent of their income.

Michelle Grim, a Toledo city council member who advocated for the proposal, said the plan will eliminate between $190 million and $240 million worth of debt. The city will contribute $800,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to the initiative, and the county will contribute another $800,000.

Cook County's plan was approved in July and will use $12 million in funds to eliminate about $1 billion in medical debt for residents.

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