skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Akron is Latest OH City to Retire Medical Debt

play audio
Play

Monday, September 18, 2023   

Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, a number of cities and counties in Ohio and around the nation have used ARPA funding to retire medical debt.

Over the summer, Akron became the latest community in Ohio to adopt a plan to retire such debts.

The city council allocated $500,000 to purchase debts through the non-profit RIP Medical Debt. RIP in turn negotiates with hospitals and debt collectors to buy old debts for pennies on the dollar and then forgives them.

Akron Ward 1 City Council Representative Nancy Holland said these debts take a toll on the community.

"Medical debt is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy," said Holland. "It's also a leading cause of divorce, of job disruption, of inability to qualify for most major loans like home loans, it can also cause trouble in a rental application, just to rent an apartment. "

Akron joins Lucas County, Toledo, and Cleveland in using ARPA funds to eliminate medical debts. The anticipated value of retired debts from Akron's allocation is up to $50 million.

After entering into a contract with a local government, RIP Medical Debt reviews hospital debt portfolios to determine which ones will be retired.

Residents who qualify must earn less than 400% of the federal poverty level, and their medical debts must be at least 5% of their annual income.

Allison Sesso is the president and CEO of RIP, and says medical debt can be hard to avoid.

"I think medical debt is different than other kinds of debt, because of the fact that it's inherent in the system," said Sesso. "And it's sort of a trap, you can't avoid it. You can have insurance and yet you still have medical debt. You can do all the right things and you still have medical debt. You don't control the pricing. It is not transparent as a system and so it's really hard to avoid. "

Pre-pandemic research found that 23 million Americans have medical debt, with 3 million owing more than $10,000.

While these debts are accumulated in countless ways, and at different types of healthcare organizations, Sesso said RIP will negotiate with anyone to buy qualifying medical debt belonging to those most financially burdened.

"There's often been questions about whether or not we'll work with certain kinds of hospitals, that maybe are seen as bad actors," said Sesso. "And at the end of the day, we really focus on the patient. If you have debt at a bad actor hospital, you shouldn't be punished for that."

Sesso said to date, RIP has retired $10 billion of debt for 7 million people nationally.





get more stories like this via email
more stories
Coal production in the Powder River Basin was 50% lower in the first quarter of 2024 than the first quarter of 2014, by about 49 million tons. (Robert Coy/Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

A new policy could affect the future of coal mining in the Powder River Basin and in turn, Wyoming's tax structure. The Powder River Basin produced …


Health and Wellness

play sound

Children's advocates are pressing California lawmakers to pass a bill that would increase oversight on health plans when they deny mental health servi…

Environment

play sound

A new World Wildlife Fund study shows since 1970, more than 80% of the global populations of freshwater migratory fish have declined significantly…


The 2024 hurricane season spans from June 1 to Nov. 30. Experts anticipate it will be among the most active seasons ever recorded. (Davivd/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The nonprofit Save the Children is working with child care centers along the Mississippi coast, with plans and tools to help them reopen or resume …

Health and Wellness

play sound

Four years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are still studying its effects on society. A new report focusing on domestic …

By 2060, nearly half the days in the year are projected to be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Arizona is already warming up, and a new report sheds light on how climate change is intensifying that heat. Last year, just under 650 heat-…

Social Issues

play sound

Residents of north Texas continue to clean up after the latest in a string of deadly tornadoes. According to the National Weather Service, an EF-2 …

Social Issues

play sound

Experts in the fight against the sexual exploitation of minors said there is a gap in highlighting how young men are targeted and new research said ma…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021