Brian Matthews and Krystina Phillips

Brian Matthews and Krystina Phillips discuss their efforts to relieve medical debt for those in a seven-county area at First United Methodist Church.

Ada First United Methodist Church (FUMC) purchased and forgave over $3.8 million in medical debt owed by 1,327 individuals in South-Central Oklahoma.

Ada FUMC partnered with the national nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to purchase and forgive $3.8M in medical debt owed by residents in Coal, Garvin, Hughes, Pontotoc, and Seminole Counties.

Medical debt is the overwhelming cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. and—particularly in the midst of a global pandemic—Ada FUMC sought to provide relief to local families strapped with medical bills. 

The campaign first launched in March 2020 with an initial goal of purchasing and forgiving $2M in medical debt.

“The global pandemic certainly required us to adjust our initial goal,” stated Senior Pastor Brian Matthews, “but even with that adjustment, we were able to forgive over $1 million more than we hoped. With RIP’s expertise, we were able to forgive roughly $380.00 in medical debt for every $1.00 donated.”

Krystina Phillips, who coordinated the mission for Ada FUMC, looks forward to the next campaign. “Medical debt doesn’t discriminate—anyone can get sick or be involved in a serious accident. I hope our church and others in the community can revisit this mission in the future, particularly when it provides such tangible benefits to our neighbors.”

By using sophisticated data analytics to pinpoint the bundled medical debt portfolios most in need of relief – households that are: below twice the federal poverty level, insolvent, or going through hardship – RIP purchases unpaid and unpayable debt at significantly reduced rates by buying debts in large, bundled portfolios for a fraction of their face value.

Once medical debt is in RIP’s possession, rather than collect it, RIP forgives it, with no strings attached. Additionally, RIP Medical Debt reports the debt resolved to credit bureaus so that damaged credit can be repaired, renewing families’ access to opportunities and resources that will allow them to rebuild.

Individuals whose medical debt was forgiven will receive notification in RIP’s signature yellow, branded envelopes in the coming weeks.

Trending Video

Recommended for you