Earlier this fall, Metro Voice News reported on The Crossing church in Columbia, which raised money to pay off millions of dollars of medical debt. A congregation in Southeast Missouri recently became the latest Missouri church to do the same.
Cape First Church, with locations in Cape Girardeau, Sikeston and Marble Hill, raised $61,388, according to the Southeast Missourian newspaper. That was enough to pay off more than $6 million of medical debt, which often is settled for pennies on the dollar.
The church worked with RIP Medical Debt in Rye, N.Y. The company purchases delinquent medical debt from collection agencies at significant discounts and sells it to churches and other charities, therefore forgiving the uncollected amounts. The funds will be distributed to people in 25 counties in Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky.
“I have some friends who had done this before elsewhere and loved the results, so I brought it to our team and asked what they thought,” Cape First communications director David Urzi told the newspaper. “We prayed on it and decided our church could raise $24,000. Obviously, God exceeded our expectations, and the people showed how much they care about their community and their neighbors.”
It will be up to RIP — not the church — to decide who receives the donation, but recipients will be notified their debts were taken care of by Cape First Church. The local TCT Television Network also worked with RIP Medical Debt to forgive $2.5 million in delinquent medical bills affecting hundreds of families, including many in Cape Girardeau County.
The trend of churches raising money to eliminate outstanding medical expenses swept the nation this year. Pathway Church in Wichita, Kansas covered more than $2 million in medical debt last April in an Easter initiative. Before Easter weekend, more than 1,600 families in the state of Kansas received a letter in the mail that read, “We’re Pathway Church. We may never meet you, but as an act of kindness in the name of Jesus Christ, your debt has been forgiven.”
This Easter, we sent a special piece of mail to all 1,600 Kansans who fell into a hardship category determined by RIP…
In Michigan, a church helped nearly 1,900 families with medical debt in July. Another church in Maryland paid off over $2 million in medical debts for 900 families. Churches in Illinois, Virginia, Texas and elsewhere have been doing the same thing.