Odon Christian Church working to pay off millions in medical debts for those in need

ODON – Odon Christian Church, 658 West Elnora Street, is working to pay off $4.1 million in medical debt for residents in seven counties.

Those counties include:

  • Daviess
  • Dubois
  • Greene
  • Knox
  • Lawrence
  • Martin
  • Orange
Pastor Micah Stephen

The church minister, Micah Stephen, says parishioners receive help from a non-profit organization called RIP Medical. The organization states that since 2014, it has cleared over $10,426,439,009 of debt for over 7,118,023 people.

For many people who feel crushed under the weight of their medical bills, trips to the mailbox can be anxiety-inducing. A reminder that you’re in a hole that feels impossible to get out of. A reminder that someone is still after you for money you don’t have.

So, how exactly do churches, individuals, and organizations eliminate all that medical debt? By partnering with RIP Medical Debt.

RIP Medical Debt collects funds from donors. Then, it works with third-party credit data providers and looks through bundled debt portfolios to locate the accounts of people who meet its criteria for relief.

The organization says it seeks to relieve medical debt for those most in need, meaning people who:

  • Earn less than two times the federal poverty level
  • Have debt that is 5% or more of their annual income
  • Face insolvency, meaning their debts are more significant than their assets

Many of those portfolios have already passed through several collection agencies, and debt buyers know it could take months or years to collect on them. So RIP Medical Debt negotiates with them to buy the portfolios at a steep discount, saying it averages a penny on the dollar.

In other words, wiping out $100 of medical debt would cost about $1.

Once RIP Medical Debt takes on the debt, it’s forgiven. People get a letter telling them their debt is gone, and just like that, they’re free.

Odon Christian Church parishioners have paid off the medical debt for 2,829 families.

Opening up the mailbox for some people might yield a welcome surprise instead: a yellow envelope with the words “RIP Medical Debt.”

At first, it might look like a scam, perhaps a scheme that might ultimately leave the recipient worse off than they started. But when they open the letter, they’ll learn that the words are, in fact, real. Their medical debt has been forgiven – thanks to someone, somewhere, who cared

Stephen says it is a way to share God’s love.