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Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:12 PM

Grand Rapids church pays off almost $2M in medical debt for Michigan families

Nearly 2,000 western Michigan families will get letters this week announcing that all of their medical debt has been paid off by a local church.

Grand Rapids First, a Wyoming, Michigan, congregation, is covering 1,899 families’ medical debts — almost $2 million in total — across four Michigan counties. Through RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based debt purchasing nonprofit, Grand Rapids First paid pennies on the dollar to purchase $1.8 million in debt for about $15,000, according to the church’s executive pastor and CFO Doug Tuttle.

Grand Rapids First is now one of more than one dozen churches throughout the nation that have worked with RIP Medical Debt to tackle medical debt, an issue that contributes to two-thirds of U.S. bankruptcies. The Michigan debt repayments cover families in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Ionia counties that will be notified of the gift via letter from RIP Medical Debt some time this week. Tuttle said the largest single debt the church paid off was more than $75,000 in medical charges that were spread over three debt accounts belonging to one person. The gift is covered by Grand Rapids First’s missions fund, so Tuttle said no church-wide fund-raising was necessary.

Church leaders don’t know the identities of the people they’re helping, or if any of them are part of Grand Rapids First's congregation — medical privacy laws mean only RIP Medical Debt knows the gifts’ recipients. But Tuttle said RIP is intentional about choosing recipients who will most benefit from debt forgiveness, like people whose debt is disproportionate to their income or who already live in poverty.

With the gift, Grand Rapids First also hopes to reflect the mission of Christ and echo a biblical repayment of sins. The congregation was“overwhelmed” when lead pastor Sam Rijfkogel announced the payment plan Sunday morning, Tuttle said. "Today, that $1,832,439.26 that's looming over families right now, those families that are living at poverty rates or less, has been paid in full as a result of a gift from this church," Rijfkogel told the congregation during his Sunday sermon. "Paid in full, not held against them one bit."


[link:https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/07/01/grand-rapids-first-church-medical-debt/1617429001/|

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Reply Grand Rapids church pays off almost $2M in medical debt for Michigan families (Original post)
MichMan Jul 2019 OP
Demovictory9 Jul 2019 #1
safeinOhio Jul 2019 #2

Response to MichMan (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 06:20 PM

1. kick

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Response to MichMan (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 07:29 PM

2. No big TV mega churches?

That figures.

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