COLUMBIA — A Columbia church teamed up with a non-profit organization Tuesday to help people pay off unpaid medical bills.
Donations from The Crossing have eliminated more than $43 million of medical debt, the church said. Members of The Crossing have donated more than $430,000 toward medical debt relief. Nonprofit organization RIP Medical Debt will use the money to pay off more than $43 million of medical debt by negotiating with debt collectors.
Federal statistics show about half of all debt collection is the result of unpaid medical expenses. RIP Medical Debt pays off all medical debt for anyone making less than twice the poverty rate with donations. Collection agencies accept payments of one penny on the dollar through RIP Medical Debt instead of getting nothing at all, according to the organization. Every person in mid-Missouri whose debt is forgiven receives a letter in the mail from RIP Medical Debt. The letters show The Crossing paid off their unpaid medical bills. No applications are necessary. RIP Medical Debt stated that it finds eligible recipients through collection agencies.
“I’m sure those people who get that letter saying their debt has been forgiven and that they are free from it will experience a lot of joy and we’re happy for them," Pastor of The Crossing Keith Simon said. "We do this because we feel like God has been incredibly gracious to us. He’s paid our debts. We think those who follow Jesus should be radically generous with their time, their talent, their treasure.”
The only way members of The Crossing would ever find out the names of Missourians helped by RIP Medical Debt is if people who received letters of forgiven debt decided to contact members of the church.