Toledo Leads the Way in Tackling Residents’ Medical Debt
November 30, 2022
Around 41% of Americans owe health care debt—and 12% of those who do owe more than $10,000. This debt draws money and resources away from families who most need an extra boost to cover rising expenses for housing, food, and transportation. Toledo city leaders have teamed up with Lucas County leaders to be among the first local governments in the country to allocate American Rescue Plan funds to buy and forgive residents’ medical debt.
The City of Toledo voted to allocate $800,000 of its ARP funds to the effort, and with county funds, a combined $1.6 million will go toward buying up the medical debt of Toledo and Lucas County residents. The non-profit organization RIP Medical Debt is working with Toledo to identify, purchase, and forgive debts for eligible residents.
Anyone with income below 400% of the federal poverty level will qualify to have their debt forgiven, and they need not apply. They will simply receive a notice that their debt has been purchased and will be forgiven. Toledo officials expect the $1.6 million investment to eliminate between $190 and $240 million of community members’ debt. This investment of federal funds amplifies a relatively small amount of money to make a big impact on thousands of Toledoans.