Michigan Church Pays Off Medical Debt for Nearly 1,900 Families

1,899 Families with Debt Forgiveness
1,899 Families with Debt Forgiveness

A Michigan church said it raised enough money to pay off the medical debt of nearly 2,000 struggling families.

Sam Rijfkogel is the pastor of Grand Rapids First in Wyoming, Michigan. He recently announced that the church purchased more than $1.8 million worth of medical debt. With the help of a non-profit, the church purchased the debt for “less than a penny on the dollar”. This effectively eliminates the debt.

“There are people whose medical debt, they cannot pay. There is no way. It’s looming over their head,” Rijfkogel said during Sunday’s service. “Most of these folks are in poverty levels or below poverty levels and there’s no way that it can be repaid, but they feel the creditor banging on their doors.”

“Today, that $1,832,439.26 that’s looming over families right now — those families that are living in poverty rates or less — has been paid in full as a result of a gift from this church,” he added.

Rijfkogel said the debt was paid off by RIP Medical Debt. RIP is a nonprofit group that claims to have paid off over $250 million in medical debt since 2014.

The families were from four Michigan counties: Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Ionia. The largest debt paid off was $75,581, according to the church.

“They owe us nothing,” Rijfkogel said. “We can be peacemakers. Just as Jesus forgave and canceled the debt of our sins, we also canceled the debt of those in our community.”

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