Church to forgive millions in medical debt

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- It's a season of giving and a church in Alabama says it's giving some families the "debt-free" gift, WBMA reports.

According to online data, the average person spends about $10,000 a year on healthcare and 26% of those people say they have problems paying those bills.

During his college years, Alesis Turner was one of those people.

"It was a challenge for us and eventually was something we were able to grow out of and pay off," Turner said.

However, many people never can.

"They go to the hospital and often times it's interfering with work so you can't even earn the money to pay off the bills," Turner said.

That's where St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Birmingham is stepping in.

They partnered with RIP Medical Debt to pay off medical debt for those who need it most.

"RIP buys medical debt directly from hospitals for pennies on the dollar. And so their average return for every dollar you donate to RIP, they're able to forgive $100 of medical debt which is just insane."

What's even more "insane" is the response St. Lukes saw from the community.

First, they thought they would at least be able to cover Birmingham with more than $10,000 in donations.

However, money kept pouring in even after the 6-week deadline.

"When it's all said and done, we hope to have forgiven about $7.5 million-plus of medical debt," Turner said.

That's enough to cover 14 counties across the state.

Giving families across the state a life-changing gift this holiday season.

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