A North Texas church is paying off $2.6 million worth of medical debt for Texans residing in Dallas and Rockwall counties.
Lake Pointe Church Pastor Josh Howerton told ABC News that the act was a part of the church’s “Pay It Forward” campaign. As the name suggests, the campaign encourages community members to do acts of kindness to mark the 40th anniversary of the church.
Howerton also said that the church’s efforts were in collaboration with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit founded in 2014 that uses donations to buy medical debt at a fraction of the cost, and then forgives the debt.
“One of the great things the organization does is that it works with the people who hold those debts to be able to negotiate down the payoffs,” Howerton told the news outlet. “So we were able to eliminate $2.6 million of medical debt for around $27,000.”
A study in the American Journal of Public Health published in February showed that more the 65 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. can be attributed to medical debt.
The church sent letters out to possible recipients in September. Possible recipients included U.S. military veterans, those whose income is two times below the federal poverty line, those who pay more than 5 percent of their income to medical bills and those whose medical bills are greater than their assets.