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UCC Church Organization Wipes Out $26 Million In Medical Debt For New Englanders

United Church On The Green, New Haven, Connecticut
Farragutful / Wikimedia Commons Image
United Church On The Green, New Haven, Connecticut

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people overwhelmed with medical bills. This crisis inspired a local church organization to do something about it. The Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ has wiped out more than $26 million in medical debt for New Englanders and first responders.

The medical debts were bought for pennies on the dollar through a New York-based non-profit called RIP Medical.

The Rev. Jocelyn Gardner Spencer is with United Church of Christ. She said more than 7,000 households in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and New York are to receive letters this week letting them know that their medical debts have been paid.

“It reads in part you may never enter the doors of one of our churches but we are the United Church of Christ and we love you. Most importantly you are beloved by God and your debt has been forgiven,” Spencer said.

Spencer said UCC congregations in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island launched the effort in January. Two hundred thousand dollars of the money they raised was used to buy up $8.4 million of medical debts owed by the households.

Another $107,000 raised has been used for a COVID-19 fund that has helped eliminate nearly $18 million in medical debts owed by 12,000 healthcare workers and first responders across the country.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.