Alabama church to forgive more than $7M in medical debt

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Its a season of giving and a church in Alabama says it’s giving some families a “debt-free” gift.

According to online data, the average person spends about $10,000 a year on healthcare. 26% of those say they have problems paying those bills.

During his college years, Alesis Turner was one of those people.

“It was a challenge for us and eventually was something we were able to grow out of and pay off.”

However, many people never can.

“They go to the hospital and often times it’s interfering with work so you can’t even earn the money to pay off the bills,” said Turner.

That’s where St. Luke’s Episcopal Chruch in Birmingham is stepping in. They partnered with RIP Medical Debt to pay off medical debt for those who need it the most.

“The RIP buys medical debt directly from hospitals for pennies on the dollar and so their average return for every dollar you donate to RIP, they’re able to forgive 100 dollars worth of medical debt which is just insane,” said Cameron Nations with St. Luke’s church.

What’s even more “insane” is the response at St. Luke’s saw from the community.

First, they thought they would at least be able to cover Birmingham, with more than $10,000 in donations. However, money kept pouring in even after the six-week deadline.

“When it’s all said and done, we hope to have forgiven about seven and a half million dollars-plus of medical debt,” said Nations.

That’s enough to cover 14 counties across the state, giving families a life-changing gift this holiday season.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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