By Consumers for Quality Care, on November 8, 2023
Oakland County, Michigan is partnering with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to use $2 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to eliminate medical debt for up to 80,000 residents, according to the Detroit Free Press.
For many, medical debt increases stress, wreaks havoc on credit scores, causes consumers to delay necessary medical care, and can – and too often does – forces consumers to file for bankruptcy. In Oakland County, there are more than 114,000 residents saddled with medical debt, with the average household owing $2,500.
Oakland County hopes its partnership with RIP Medical Debt will eliminate $200 million of medical debt. To achieve this goal, RIP Medical Debt works with local hospitals to identify eligible low-income patients. Then, it purchases their debt for pennies on the dollar before notifying the patients that their debts have been forgiven and cleared from their credit reports.
CQC applauds efforts to lessen the harms of medical debt for consumers, and also urges lawmakers and the Biden administration to enact policies that will protect consumers from crushing medical debt.