Area doctors trying to erase medical debt

Press Release

Three doctors in northern Indiana have pledged to erase the $1.7M medical debt for their 8 surrounding counties by partnering with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization that allows generous donors to clear the medical debt that cripples families and individuals.
Drs. Janelle and Matt Pflieger of Cardinal Family Medicine in Huntington and Dr. Joel Schumacher of Schumacher Family Medicine in Plymouth have teamed up to erase the combined medical debt in Huntington, Wells, Whitley, and Wabash counties, and Marshall, Starke, Fulton, Kosciusko counties. With each donated dollar purchasing $100 of debt, their goal is to raise $17,000 by this August to purchase and forgive the $1.7M medical debt represented by these counties.
“We launched our fund-raising campaign in early March, and then coronavirus hit,” explained Dr. Joel Schumacher. “That wasn’t something we planned on, and our efforts needed to take a temporary back seat. The initial response was so positive though and people have been so generous that we are well on our way to our goal. We are committed to reaching our goal by the end of August.”
Dr. Janelle Pflieger added that once they meet their goal, they will notify the community when medical debt relief letters are being sent out so those relieved can keep their eyes peeled for a branded, yellow RIP envelope.
Donations of any size can have a large impact on forgiving debt. Everyone is invited to join this northern Indiana campaign by visiting the secure website at secure.qgiv.com/events/indrs .
As direct primary care doctors, the Pfliegers and Schumacher are passionate about finding innovative solutions that reduce health care costs while improving access and transparency.
They are also passionate about finding community-based ways to help their neighbors.
Two thirds of all personal bankruptcies in America are tied to a medical event, either because of high costs of care or because it caused the person to be out of work. Families turn to bankruptcy because of medical issues and bills, ruining credit scores and crippling their families’ future hopes to purchase a home or secure a loan. Too often, medical events become
financial catastrophes.
RIP Medical Debt is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit whose sole purpose is to locate, purchase and then abolish unpaid and unpayable medical debt as a benefit to society as well as the recipient.
Working with third-party credit data providers, RIP searches bundled debt portfolios to locate accounts meeting criteria for financial relief. RIP then negotiates to purchase the portfolios at a steep discount from the collection agencies that have been pursuing the debtors. The humanitarian difference is that once RIP buys this debt, it is forgiven on behalf of the donors.
Those who qualify for RIP Debt Forgiveness are those who are earning less than 2 times the federal poverty level (varies by state and family size); those in financial hardship (out of pocket expenses 5% or more of their annual income); and those facing insolvency (debts are greater than assets). Medical debt relief is based on those debts available and unfortunately the nonprofit cannot relieve debts by request.
Using these criteria, RIP Medical Debt identified $1.7 Million of medical debt in the 8 counties of Northern Indiana that are included in this campaign. Cardinal Family Medicine and Schumacher Family Medicine created their campaign to relieve debt in these 8 counties.
Cardinal Family Medicine is a direct primary care family practice founded in 2016 by Drs. Matt and Janelle Pflieger, and is located in Huntington, Indiana. For more information, visit cardinalfamilymedicine.com.
Schumacher Family Medicine was founded in 2017 by Dr. Joel Schumacher in downtown Plymouth, Indiana. More information about SFM can be found at schumacherfamilymedicine.com.

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