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File #: 3567-2022    Version: 1
Type: Ordinance Status: Referred to Committee
File created: 12/8/2022 In control: Finance Committee
On agenda: 2/27/2023 Final action:
Title: To authorize the Director of the Department of Finance and Management to enter into a non-profit service contract with RIP Medical Debt; to authorize the transfer of $2,000,000.00 within the Recovery Fund; and to authorize the expenditure of up to $2,000,000.00 from the Recovery Fund. ($2,000,000.00)
Attachments: 1. 3567-2022
This ordinance authorizes the Director of the Department of Finance and Management to enter into a non-profit service contract with RIP Medical Debt (RIPMD), a national 501(c)(3) organization that acquires and relieves financially burdensome medical debt. RIPMD buys debt from hospitals in bundles at a fraction of its original cost.

The contract with RIPMD will target medical debt for Columbus residents who earn less than 400% of the federal poverty level and/or whose medical debts comprise 5% or more of their annual income. Recipients will not face any tax obligations as RIPMD serves as a disinterested third party and does not collect on the debt they purchase.

Because RIPMD can acquire debt for less than $1 per $100 of delinquent debt, its impact quickly adds up for families with delinquent medical debt. For example, $1,000,000 in purchasing power could forgive $100,000,000 in debt for Columbus residents. RIPMD estimates that over 100,000 Columbus residents hold delinquent medical debt, and that about 75,000 of those individuals would qualify for forgiveness under RIPMD’s program. Based on average debt held by individuals with delinquent medical debt nationwide, RIPMD estimates that Columbus residents would qualify for $180,000,000 to $200,000,000 in total debts forgiven.

Under the contract, RIPMD will perform outreach to area hospitals to initiate partnerships and develop agreements to buy debt of all qualifying patients. RIPMD will securely process patient data in accordance with HIPAA and any additional hospital privacy policies to assess which patients qualify for debt forgiveness under their program. The City of Columbus’ contract with RIPMD will provide the funding necessary to relieve the medical debt of qualifying Columbus residents. RIPMD will also relieve the debt of qualifying individuals who do not reside in Columbus through the other philanthropic contributions they receive. The City of Columbus will provide ZIP code information to RI...

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