California church pays off $5.3MILLION in medical debt for 5,000 poverty-stricken families  | Daily Mail Online

An early Christmas present! California church pays off $5.3MILLION in medical debt for 5,000 poverty-stricken families

A California church says they paid off $5.3million in medical debt for more than 5,500 families in 28 poor neighborhoods in the Los Angeles community. 

The announcement came from Christian Assembly’s from co-lead pastor Tom Hughes in a video last week. 

Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock reportedly purchased the debt for $53,000 with donations given by congregation members over the past year and are working with the non-profit group, RIP Medical Debt, to eradicate the outstanding bills. 

Hughes said: ‘This week, all 5,555 households are going to be getting a letter letting them know their medical debt has been cancelled, no strings attached, because of the generosity of the people at Christian Assembly Church.’

Tom Hughes (pictured), co-lead pastor at Christian Assembly, announced the congregation’s good deed in a video released last week 

‘As they recover from their illness, it will help them get back on their feet and avoid homelessness,’ he continued. 

RIP Medical Debt claims to have abolished more than $1billion in medical debt since the groups’ beginnings in 2014.   

Hughes described medical debt as a ‘crushing weight’ affecting people ‘during the most challenging time of their life.’

He said that medical debt was one of the leading causes of homelessness in California and that 60 percent of the country’s personal bankruptcy cases are rooted in this type of debt.  

Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock (pictured) reportedly purchased the debt for $53,000 with donations given by congregation members over the past year

Hughes said medical debt can leave not only a financial burden on an individual’s credit score, it can also add a psychological pressure.  

Hughes revealed Christian Assembly was able to purchase the debt for just one penny on the dollar. 

Christian Assembly and RIP Medical Debt have targeted 5,555 families in the several California neighborhoods who earn less than twice the federal poverty line.

Hughes said that 60 percent of the country’s personal bankruptcy cases are rooted in medical debt

The $5.3million will help clear medical debt for 5,555 families in 28 neighborhoods across Los Angeles County 

The groups have gone so far as to work with the credit agencies to help the selected families deal with the impact of the unpaid bills. 

Medical Debt in the US

Medical debt affects millions of Americans each year. 

More than 60 percent of Americans exhaust their savings to pay off medical debt.

‘In today’s healthcare landscape, even those with health insurance are struggling to pay increasing out-of-pocket expenses. In fact, of the population with health insurance,pick up extra jobs and 37 percent have admitted to borrowing money from family members to pay their medical bills.’

Also, around one in 10 adults delay medical care because of costs.

‘Currently, the average cost of a primary care visit is $200, and the average cost of a hospital stay sits at $15,734.’

‘So this gift is really helping the poor in neighborhoods where we live…and once we do this, it will end the harassing phone calls from debt collectors,’ Hughes said. 

‘And not only that, we will work with the credit agencies to repair their credit score for the impact of those unpaid medical bills.   

Hughes took a moment during the heartwarming video to address his congregation and congratulate them on their accomplishment. 

‘Isn’t it unbelievable that we get to be part of loving our neighbors far and wide?’ he said.  

Christian Assembly members couldn’t agree more, with some parishioners describing their excitement to KABC-TV.

Member Blythe Hill said: ‘I would love to be a fly on the wall for someone who’s receiving a notification like this.’

One woman said: ‘Just to open that envelope and be like, “oh my gosh, my debt’s been paid”.’

Hughes: ‘This week, all 5,555 households are going to be getting a letter letting them know their medical debt has been cancelled, no strings attached’ 

Other churches around the United States have also been purchasing and paying off millions in medical debt. 

The Ledger reports that Florida parishioners paid off $1.62million in medical debt for 1,300 low income residents right before the Thanksgiving holiday season.  

Other churches in Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Illinois and several others in various states are stepping up to help community members.    

California church pays off $5.3MILLION in medical debt for 5,000 poverty-stricken families 

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