Columbus City Council to vote on contract aimed at erasing medical debt for qualified residents
Thousands of qualifying Columbus residents could soon see their outstanding medical debt abolished.
Columbus City Council is set to vote Monday night to authorize $2 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to contract with RIP Medical Debt.
The non-profit uses donated funds to buy bundled debt from hospitals in large bundled portfolios at a fraction of the original cost.
"So that basically means $1, donated to the nonprofit on average tends to abolish $100 of medical debt," RIPMD spokesman Daniel Lempert said.
Anyone who earns below four times the federal poverty level, or for whom a medical debt is 5% or more of their gross annual income is automatically eligible, Lempert said. No application is needed.
"They don't have to do a thing. They don't have to lift a finger. They just get a letter in the mail saying this debt or these debts have been abolished and you're free and clear," Lempert said.
Lempert said there's a racial equity component to their work. 23 percent of communities of color in Franklin County have medical debt in collections, compared to 12%of white communities, according to data from the Urban Institute.