Church Pays Off $1.9 Million In Medical Debts of 900 Families
Date Posted: Thursday, April 4th, 2019
A church in Maryland has eradicated the medical debts of more than 900 families across 14 different counties, in a no-strings-attached act of incredible kindness worth almost $2 million.
Revolution Annapolis, a 170-member nondenominational church, sent anonymous letters out to the lucky families on Monday to tell them their medical bills – both big and small – had been wiped clean.
The church covered costs as little as $200, all the way up to $100,000 as part of the incredible scheme.
To fund the project, Revolution raised $15,000 in December thanks to a fundraising drive, and later partnered with the non-profit, RIP Medical Debt, to help pay $1,893,288.73 worth of medical bills in central and eastern Maryland.
The generous gesture took advantage of how debt collection companies operate.
It is possible for companies - like RIP Medical Debt - to purchase the rights to collect vast amounts of people's medical debt - often for less than a cent per dollar.
In this case, the $15,000 raised by Revolution was able to purchase $1,893,288.73 worth of medical debt, which they then forgave - meaning the lucky patients no longer needed to pay it off.
The church’s lead pastor, Kenny Camacho, in a statement: ‘Forgiving medical debt is not part of a strategy to get people to attend or give to local churches.
‘We know that there are strings attached to almost everything we do these days: everything you buy, everything you search for online, becomes part of the next advertisement you see.
‘Revolution wants to resist the idea that the church is just another business: the church should exist so that people can have hope, period.’
Camacho added that the congregation were inspired by a segment of John Oliver’s HBO show Last Week Tonight, which exposed how easy it was to buy and sell large amounts of medical debt for comparatively small amounts of money.
The host's show purchased $14.9 million of medical debt for $60,000, before forgiving the debts, helping 9,000 families.
Revolution also heard the story of Covenant Church in Texas, who used $100,000 to wipe out $10,000,000 of medical debt, helping 4,200 families.
Revolution’s initial goal was the clear the debts of people in the town of the church’s headquarters in Annapolis, but as their fundraising efforts continued to gather in momentum their aspirations increased exponentially too.
The 170-member church sent anonymous letters out to the lucky families on Monday to tell them their medical bills – both big and small – had been wiped clean
900 families across 14 different counties in Maryland were beneficiaries of the scheme
Camacho is hoping to build a coalition among other local congregations and non-profits, in an effort to broaden the kindness scheme to more families plagued by debts.
‘We think this is a practical and tangible way that we can help people — regardless of whether they are part of a church or not — experience forgiveness that impacts their lives in a meaningful way,’ Camacho explained to the Christian Post.
‘We hope that is kind of the taste of the larger message that we would like to communicate to people about what it means to have debt forgiven.’
The church, who meet weekly in an elementary school hall, are hoping to build a coalition among other local congregations and non-profits, in an effort to upscale their fundraising and to help even more families tackle the ‘debt ladder’ encumbering them.
Pastor Camacho said he even hopes to one day see organizations working directly with hospitals to settle outstanding amounts and tackle the issue of medical debt ‘at its source’.
‘We are open to doing something similar in years to come although it will take time. We will have to spread that circle a lot larger or it will take time to accumulate more debt for sale in our area,’ he said.
‘We are not giving up. ‘
Date Posted: Thursday, April 4th, 2019 , Total Page Views: 748