This nonprofit aims to eliminate $1B in medical debt for the nation's poorest

Written by Ayla Ellison (Twitter | Google+)  | June 08, 2016 | Print  |

RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit based in Rye, N.Y., has set a goal to eliminate at least $1 billion in medical debt for the nation's poorest patients. Although that sounds daunting, company cofounder Craig Antico told STAT it's more manageable than it appears.

Medical debt is sold very cheap because it is difficult to collect on. Mr. Antico told STAT a dollar of debt can be bought for less than a cent. "It only takes $14.45 million to abolish $1 billion in debt," he said.

Mr. Antico and Jerry Ashton, RIP Medical Debt cofounder, previously worked in the debt collection industry. However, after talking to protestors from the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, they decided to change their focus to forgiving debt rather than collecting on it.

Mr. Antico and Mr. Ashton initially bought debt with their own money, but their company now accepts donations to buy and forgive debt.

RIP Medical Debt forgives debt only for those with an annual income that is less than twice the federal poverty level. The company is currently raising funds to pay the debts of veterans and has plans to target other groups for debt forgiveness in the future.

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