Oklahoma church purchases, forgives $3.8 million in medical debt


ADA, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma church says it has purchased and forgiven millions of dollars in medical debt owed by Oklahoma residents.

Recently, Ada First United Methodist Church partnered with RIP Medical Debt to purchase and forgive $3.8 million in medical debt.

The debt was owed by 1,327 residents in Coal, Garvin, Hughes, Pontotoc, and Seminole counties.

“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 in medical debt for every $1 donated.”

Medical debt is the main cause of bankruptcy in the United States, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic.

“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,” said Krystina Phillips, who coordinated the mission for Ada FUMC.

Organizers say they targeted households that are below twice the federal poverty level, insolvent, or going through hardship.

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

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