Chances are, you know somebody who owes a crushing amount of medical debt that they will never be able to repay. You may even be in that situation yourself.
Americans are polarized on many topics these days, but we can all seem to agree that soaring medical costs are ruining lives — a monstrous beast nobody can seem to tame.
But two women from Ithica, New York, are doing what they can to make a dent in the health care debt that Americans owe.
Judith Jones, 80, and Carolyn Kenyon, 70, raised $12,500 this year and donated it to an organization that forgives and retires medical debt forever.
The $12,500 the two women raised forgave an incredible $1.5 million in medical debt, according to the New York Times.
Jones and Kenyon chose to give the money to an organization called R.I.P. Medical Debt, founded in 2014 by two former debt collection industry executives.
According to their website, R.I.P. Medical Debt works “on behalf of individuals, foundations and corporations to abolish medical debt and provide relief for those in need.”
Using the money that people like Jones and Kenyon donate, R.I.P. Medical Debt, buys outstanding debt for mere pennies on the dollar and pays it off, forever.
“Using data analysis, we locate the medical debt that is most crucially in need of relief,” the organization says. “Those helped are no longer obligated to pay even a cent, and have no adverse consequences.”
Jones, a retired chemist, knows that $1.5 million is nothing compared to the billions of healthcare debt that Americans owe. But she still wanted to do what she could to alleviate debt for approximately 1,284 in her home state.
“The way sort of opened,” Jones said, explaining how she and Kenyon went about soliciting donations.
They explained to donors that the money would lift financial burdens of people in need, but would not solve the larger problem of the health care crisis.
Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton, the two founders of R.I.P. Medical Debt have found forgiving debt to be much better than hounding people for money.
“I like doing this much more than I liked doing collecting,” Antico said.
Antico and Ashton are able to target people who need their debts forgiven the most, such as veterans.
Recipients do not know they are being selected, they find out after the debt has been forgiven when a thin, yellow envelope shows up in their mail or they see the debt erased from their credit reports.
“I do like the idea that people do not have to ask for help,” Antico said. “The random act of kindness is kind of a cool thing.”
Hats off to these two women, who are making a difference in the lives of complete strangers simply because it’s the right thing to do.
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