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Omaha church partners with nonprofit and cancels $7.2 million of medical debt for strangers

 A Nebraska church is serving its community and helping those in need by helping to eliminate millions of dollars in medical expenses for people overwhelmed by debt.

King of Kings Church in Omaha has partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit organization, to buy up medical debt and then forgive it.

"They are just doing a terrific ministry," King of Kings Church lead pastor Greg Griffith told WOWT-TV.

RIP Medical Debt was founded in 2014 by former debt collections executives Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton. Their organization uses donations to purchase medical debt from hospitals and doctors practices before it is sold to collections firms and then forgives that debt, freeing people in need from the enormous burden of their medical expenses.

When debt is sold to collections, it is sold at a discount, for a fraction of the total value of the debt. This allows RIP Medical Debt to purchase the rights to collect medical debt cheaply and then cancel that debt. There's no need to raise millions of dollars to cancel millions of dollars of debt. For every $100 donation, RIP Medical Debt says they can forgive $10,000 of medical debt.

When Pastor Griffith learned that churches have partnered with RIP Medical Debt to forgive debts across the country, he wanted his King of Kings Church to be a part of that effort. The coronavirus pandemic has prevented churches nationwide from meeting and serving their communities in the way they are used to, but Griffith said RIP Medical Debt gave his church an ability to make a difference in people's lives in a way that was relevant to the times.

"Health care is an issue. Medical debt is an issue and people are going to the hospital totally unexpectedly because of this global pandemic and so we felt this would be a great way to say, 'Let us help you,'" he said.

King of Kings Church made a $35,000 donation that RIP Medical Debt turned around to buy up the medical debt of 2,700 people, eliminating $7.2 million worth of debt in Nebraska, Iowa, and part of Arizona.

Pastor Griffith hopes other churches take advantage of the opportunity provided by RIP Medical Debt and similar organizations to serve people in need across the United States.

"We could cancel all medical debt, even student loan debt," he said. "I hope and pray other churches take a look at this model and consider it."

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