adplus-dvertising

955 Mississippians Just Had Their Medical Debts Cleared

Nine hundred fifty-five people across the state of Mississippi have had their medical debts canceled thanks to efforts made by The Word Center Church in Jackson, Mississippi, and its partnership with NYC-based nonprofit RIP Medical Debt.

Roderick Richardson, the lead pastor of The Word Center Church, told the Jackson Free Press that the church had worked with RIP Medical Debt for 4 months in order to benefit patients from 70 of the state’s 82 counties with up to $11,000 in debt assistance individually.

Hinds County received the most relief, with 256 families receiving $476,916.24 in debt forgiveness out of the total $1.44 million spread across the state.

“We wanted to concentrate on Hinds County, but then once we alleviated all the debt in Hinds County, which we did, we spread out into other counties throughout the state of Mississippi from north Mississippi, all the way to south Mississippi,” Richardson said.

Neale Mahoney, PhD, an economics professor at Stanford University, has been working with RIP Medical Debt to evaluate the real-world impact of their debt forgiveness.

“I think the folks at RIP [Medical Debt] share this view: they don’t see charitable relief of medical debt as the scalable solution for financial distress that arises from hospitalizations and doctor’s visits,” he told MedPage Today. “I see this as something that we can do now, but that it is not a substitute for changes either in policy or pulling other levers that could provide people with more financial security when it comes to their healthcare costs.”

Mississippi is one of a group of states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a political decision that would allow 200,000 to 300,000 working Mississippians to qualify for healthcare coverage, according to prior research. There is a clear connection, Mahoney noted, between a state’s refusal to expand Medicaid and the growing frequency and scale of medical debts in those states’ lowest-income communities.

Still, much of the country’s medical debt — Mahoney said some estimates put it at half of all medical debt — continues to come from co-payments and deductibles from individuals who have insurance.

“What we’ve seen over the last 11 years, maybe more, is this rapid increase in high-deductible plans, so even people who have insurance through work or from another source are paying more out of pocket, leading to more medical debt,” he said.

Daniel Lempert, the non-profit’s communications director, told MedPage Today that RIP Medical Debt has been working with local community groups and faith-based organizations since it was founded in 2014, collaborating with approximately 300 churches. To date, Lempert reported that the organization has been able to abolish $5.3 billion in medical debts for 3 million families across the country.

“A lot of it hinges on the medical debt we have available to us, and that’s a function of qualifying medical debts… We relieve medical debts for people who are two times below the federal poverty level or who have debts that are 5% or more of their gross annual income,” Lempert explained. “So, to make sure we are helping people who are the most burdened, we have to make sure we have qualifying medical debt available to us in the area of interest.”

These debts, he said, are sourced from secondary debt markets, including debt buyers or collection agencies; the organization has also started receiving qualifying medical debts via donations from hospitals and doctor’s groups.

In his work with RIP Medical Debt, Mahoney is trying to assess whether or not the impact of debt relief is of the same magnitude as the face value of the debt itself — and how this all affects the mental wellbeing of those who benefit from debt relief.

“You can sometimes relieve debt for pennies on the dollar. So, if you relieve $2,000 in debt for 40 bucks, are you having a $2,000 impact, or are you having something closer to a $40 impact?” Mahoney explained. “Is relieving that debt still providing them with a huge relief psychologically? Are they more likely to go to the doctor because they don’t feel guilty?”

These are still open questions that Mahoney and RIP Medical Debt are trying to answer. In the meantime, Lempert hopes that, beyond the benefits of financial relief, the organization’s efforts will help remove the stigma attached to having medical debt.

“We’re primarily hoping to let people know that, you know, having a chronic illness, being sick, having been in an accident, it’s not a personal failure… Hopefully, in lifting this burden, we can empower people to seek more care in the future,” Lempert said. “And oftentimes, if a debt had been reported to the credit bureaus, when we abolish it it will remove that negative mark from their score. So hopefully, this is also giving individuals who are recipients of the relief a little more financial strength.”

  • Kara Grant joined the Enterprise & Investigative Reporting team at MedPage Today in February 2021. She covers psychiatry, mental health, and medical education. Follow

Stay connected with us on social media platform for instant update click here to join our  Twitter, & Facebook

We are now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TechiUpdate) and stay updated with the latest Technology headlines.

For all the latest Health News Click Here 

 For the latest news and updates, follow us on Google News

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TechiLive.in is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.