skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, July 13, 2024

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

VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

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
North Carolina has received more than 105,000 contacts to its 988 system via call, chat and text in the past 12 months. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

North Carolina must increase its crisis response capacity for long-term success, according to a new report by the mental-health policy group …


Health and Wellness

play sound

In response to an alarmingly high number of suicides among construction workers, Michigan's construction leaders have taken measures to tackle mental …

Environment

play sound

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $271,000 in grants for environmental education projects across the state. The programs will …


Organizers say the Swingman Classic is the closest a modern-day fan can get to the historic Negro Leagues. (Danny Hooks/Adobe Stock)

play sound

Major League Baseball's All-Star week kicks off tonight at Globe Life Field in Arlington with the Swingman Classic featuring 50 student athletes from …

Health and Wellness

play sound

New York doctors are advising people how to stay healthy in the summer heat. Temperatures across the state will reach the high 80s and mid-90s in …

Along with extreme temperatures and public health-related states of emergency, a new Virginia law prevents utility shutoffs on Fridays, weekends and the day before or during state holidays. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

A new Virginia law protects residents from utility shutoffs in extreme weather. The law prevents utility company shutoffs when temperatures are at …

Social Issues

play sound

Minnesotans this month have a chance to share their thoughts on how the state should distribute home energy rebates. With federal incentives coming …

Social Issues

play sound

New Mexico teachers educating young people about climate change don't want them to feel hopeless - and they've developed an educational curriculum to …

 

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