GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- More than 1,000 people are set to have some of their medical debt paid off by local donors to non-profit RIP Medical Debt, according to its COO.
RIP Medical Debt buys bundles of medical debt for a fraction of what it’s worth and then forgives the debt, according to co-founder and COO Craig Antico.
More than 15 percent of people in the Greenville-Spartanburg area owe money for healthcare, Antico said.
“I estimate that there’s $7.5 billion in debt that they owe over the last seven years that they haven’t been able to pay,” he said.
Husband and wife Tom Ervin and Kathryn Williams are looking to make a dent in that. Their $15,000 donation to the non-profit will pay off more than $1.5 million of medical debt for people in the Upstate, lowering the medical debt of more than 1,000 people, according to Antico.
“It’s home, and we want to help our neighbors when we can,” Ervin said.
RIP Medical Debt looks to help people who need it most, including those who earn less than two times the federal poverty level, people who owe more than the total value of their assets, and those who more than five percent of their annual income.
“If you get cancer, for example, it can cost you 10, 20, 30 percent of your income, and that’s just killing people,” Antico said.
Right now, people cannot apply for help from RIP Medical Debt.
“It’s more of a random act of kindess,” Antico said.
“Even though the economy’s doing well, there’s still people living from paycheck to paycheck and under a lot of pressure,” Ervin said. “A lot of folks in our state have no health insurance, and then many that do have high deductibles and co-pays…so this is going to help a lot of folks.”
A dollar donated to the non-profit can cancel $100 worth of medical debt, according to Antico. Ervin said that’s part of what drew him to the charity.
“It’s like throwing a pebble in the river,” Ervin said. “It has a ripple effect, and so we hope that many many blessings will come from it. And we believe they will.”
The recipients of the donation will receive letters in the mail by the end of the year, according to Ervin.
You can learn more about RIP Medical Debt and how to donate here.