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Ingham County Takes Action to Erase Medical Debt for More Than 20,000 Residents

MASON — The Ingham County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to participate in a program to eliminate medical debt for more than 20,000 county residents. 

The Board of Commissioners approved using $250,000 in county funds, along with the same amount in state matching funds, to contract with RIP Medical Debt, a national charity that acquires patients’ medical debt from medical providers for about one penny on the dollar — and then absolves it. 

“I’m excited that we’re able to assist so many people struggling with medical debt in our community and help them get a fresh start,” said Commissioner Myles Johnson, who represents District 5 in Southwest Lansing and who first brought the idea to his colleagues. “I’m grateful my fellow county commissioners joined me in supporting this critical effort.” 

Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the nation. It is more prevalent in communities of color and is a key contributor to poor physical and mental health, research shows, as many patients with debt end up delaying the medical care they need. 

“This program will help thousands of people in our community avoid going into bankruptcy,” said Commissioner Gabrielle Lawrence, who represents District 10 in Northeast Lansing. “By partnering with RIP Medical Debt to help local working families, Ingham County is taking a vital step toward addressing systemic inequities, alleviating major financial burdens and promoting public health for all our residents.” 

RIP Medical Debt has acquired and abolished over $10.4 billion in medical debt for 7.1 million people nationwide. Ingham County residents with household incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty guidelines and whose medical debt represents 5% or more of their annual household income are eligible for the program. 

Residents do not need to take any action to participate in the program. RIP Medical Debt will contact eligible individuals via mail to inform them that their debt has been purchased and forgiven.

 Learn more about RIP Medical Debt at

Ingham County Takes Action to Erase Medical Debt for More Than 20,000 Residents