Two Presbyterian Churches Abolish $1.4M of Medical Debt for Manatee County Families

The churches teamed with non-profit RIP Medical Debt to clear medical debt at the rate of $1 for every $100 of debt for all qualifying Manatee Co. residents.

We feel blessed to have had this opportunity to partner in such a significant way, and to share the love of Jesus Christ in our community.”

— Rev. Dr. Ted Land

BRADENTON, FL, U.S.A., December 9, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — Palma Sola Presbyterian Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church have cleared $1,456,877 in medical debt for 750 Manatee County residents and their families, through a $14,000 donation to RIP Medical Debt.

Across the U.S., more than 1 trillion dollars of medical debt is owed, a number that is escalating rapidly due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Nationwide, organizations and individuals are leading campaigns to raise money to help RIP Medical Debt forgive medical debt. Learn how you can help at the RIP Medical Debt website.

Until resolved, medical debt lingers on one’s credit report, negatively impacting the ability to buy or rent a home, buy a vehicle, or get a loan. People with medical debt neglect medical care to prevent additional debt. And medical debt is the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in America.

RIP Medical Debt identifies Florida as one of ten hotspot states burdened by an overwhelming amount of medical debt.

This Spring, Palma Sola Presbyterian Church contacted RIP Medical Debt to inquire how it might help Manatee County residents struggling with crippling medical debt. They were excited to learn that an achievable donation amount would cancel the debt of all qualifying residents in the county. Together with Westminster Presbyterian Church, $14,000 was raised and transferred to RIP Medical Debt to forgive this debt.

“If we as a church can lighten the burdens of those with unpayable medical debt, ease their minds, help them have a more abundant life, that is what Jesus calls us to do,” said Transitional Pastor Ted Land.

“I first learned about RIP Medical Debt when I read a story on Presbyterian News Service about a church in Columbus, Ohio, that had retired all medical debt in their county. I thought, ‘If they can do that, what can we do as Presbyterians in Manatee County?’ Folks at Palma Sola and Westminster churches embraced the idea.”

RIP Medical Debt is a national not-for-profit organization whose mission it is to help individuals and families burdened by unpaid and unpayable medical debt. It uses precise data analytics to pinpoint medical debt of those most in need of relief. Those who qualify earn less than two times the federal poverty level, have debts that are 5 percent or more than their annual income, or face insolvency (debts greater than assets).

RIP Medical Debt then negotiates with collection agencies to buy portfolios of this medical debt for a penny or less on the dollar, and uses donor contributions to purchase and forgive the debt. Donors can select a geographic area or veterans for the debt relief.

This week, recipients of Mantatee’s medical debt relief are each receiving a letter explaining that their debt is paid in full and there are ‘no strings attached,’ including no taxes.

“We feel blessed to have had this opportunity to partner in such a significant way, and to share the love of Jesus Christ in our community,” said Land.

He explained that Palma Sola Presbyterian looks for ways to maximize the impact of its volunteer efforts and donations through partnering with other organizations. The church partners in three programs addressing food insecurity, education and literacy, and support and connections for older adults.

Last year, the church hosted a community event for its partner Rise Against Hunger in which 14,256 meals were packed for later shipment to Haiti. Each school year, the church partners with Palma Sola Elementary for a Pen Pal program that connects members with second graders.

RIP Medical Debt is a nonprofit organization that allows generous donors and organizations to erase the debt of Americans whose lives have been destroyed by medical debt. Founded in 2014 by two former collections industry executives, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton, who had met with thousands of Americans saddled with unpaid and un-payable medical debt and realized they were uniquely qualified to help. RIP rose to national prominence on an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that has been viewed almost 10 million times, where RIP facilitated the erasure of $15M in medical debt for only $60,000. To date, RIP has abolished nearly $3 billion of medical debt for two million people. RIP also actively contributes to public discourse around the systemic contributors to medical debt and related policy failures.

Ted Land, Pastor
Palma Sola Presbyterian Church

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