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WRAL-TV donates $10K to help medical debt RIP

November 7, 2018

WRAL is working with a national charity to buy and then erase the medical debt many people owe.

WRAL is working with RIP Medical Debt to buy and then erase the medical debt owed by some North Carolina residents.

The national charity pays bills that are in collections.

The company keeps a running total on its website, and so far, they say they have paid off more than $150 million in medical debt.

WRAL-TV just donated $10,000 to erase more than $1 million of debt owed by people who live in our area.

“I’ve got the ambulance. I’ve got physical therapy. I’ve got occupational therapy. And I’ve got UNC Health Care,” says Chris Godley, referring to the list of medical bills he owes after an SUV struck his car at an intersection last winter.

With limited insurance, Godley’s out-of-pocket expenses totaled more than $100,000.

He said he is still trying to negotiate payment with UNC Health Care for his treatment there.

“People are one illness or accident away from financial ruin,” said Craig Antico, who spent 30 years as a debt collector, and knows the financial struggles of many people who owe medical debt.

“Half of all collections are medical,” he said.

Now Antico runs RIP Medical Debt. The nonprofit launched four years ago and uses donations to strike a deal on medical debt that is already in the collections process.

For each dollar owed, RIP pays about one cent.

″$100 abolishes $10,000 of medical debt,” Antico said. “Right now, my help is a random act of kindness (and) I find the people that are in need, based on all the data that I add.”

The company buys debt in bulk, but it cannot designate payments to specific people.

Based on data gathered from credit reporting companies, and even military records, RIP targets those near the poverty level, as well as veterans and children.

Antico says payments per debt typically average about $2,000.

He says North Carolina has one of the highest rates of medical debt on credit reports: $960 million.

Godley’s debt is now part of that total. And he says he is unable to pay all that he owes.

“I know what I make. I know how much money my family brings in, and I can’t enter into an agreement with UNC Health Care that I know I can’t do,” he said. “I can’t pay them what they’re asking, But I very much want to make sure they get paid.”

WRAL’s $10,000 donation will be used by RIP Medical Debt to abolish more than $1 million of debt in North Carolina.

RIP is sending yellow letters this week to people whose debt will be paid.

For people who receive those envelopes, it is legitimate and it means that debt is wiped from your credit report.

We’d like to hear from you if you receive one. Email us at: MedicalDebt@wral.com

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