STONECREST—A donation from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has wiped out the debt of more than 1,200 south DeKalb residents, thanks to a partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit organization. Senior Pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant directed the relief efforts to individuals residing in the 30038 ZIP code, which includes Stonecrest and Lithonia.
“We are blessed to be a blessing and this effort has truly help families start the New Year without the stress, worry and concern that often accompanies looming medical bills and calls from debt collectors,” said Dr. Bryant. “When a medical issue occurs, the subsequent bills can wreak havoc on a family’s finances leading some down a path of bad credit or left with reservations about even seeking medical attention for fear of the costs for services.”
Church officials said nearly $1.3 million in medical debt was erased through its partnership with RIP Medical Debt. The average resolved medical debt was $1,065 .
RIP Medical Debt, which was founded by two former debt collectors, has been featured nationally for eradicating more than $1 billion in medical debt by taking donations generated from individual donors, faith-based organizations and other establishments and buying medical debt at a greatly reduced discount. Medical relief participants must meet requirements outlined by RIP Medical Debt.
New Birth launched its medical debt relief efforts in December, just in time for a Christmas surprise.
“Thanks to the generous donations from the New Birth congregation, we were able to surprise families around the holidays with news that their medical bills have been totally forgiven,” said Dr. Bryant. “We wanted this effort to specifically impact those in the Stonecrest area and provide some needed relief as we enter into an exciting new year and decade.”
According to national statistics, 66% of bankruptcies are related to medical debt issues with 25% of credit card debt in the United States being attributed to medical bills and fees.
Recently, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, through the Trae Young Foundation, partnered with RIP Medical Debt to erase $1 million in medical debt.
For more information on RIP Medical Debt, visit ripmedicaldebt.org.