Great Ozarks Forgiveathon Awards First Recipients; Total Funding Nears $8 Million

The first round of those having their medical debt erased because of a fundraiser headed by a local late night talk show have received their notifications.

Emmy-award winning The Mystery Hour joined with a medical debt elimination charity, RIP Medical Debt, to pay down $2.7 million in medical debt in the Ozarks. The charity buys the medical debt at pennies on the dollar (in some cases, literally one penny on the dollar) and then forgives the debt.

“We are pleased to inform you that you no longer owe the balance on the debt referenced to the above provider,” the letters to recipients read. “We are a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that acquires and then cancels unpaid and unpayable medical debt. The debt has been canceled and abolished with funds donated raised through a campaign spearheaded by The Mystery Hour with Jeff Houghton.”

The letter explains because they are a 501(c)(3) organization, the recipient also has no tax obligation related to the retirement of their medical debt.

“What an amazing thing,” one recipient wrote to The Mystery Hour team after receiving their letter. “Mom has had heart issues for many years with no insurance and this has been a burden since she is now only living on Social Security. What a blessing! This means the world to me. Thank you so much.”

Host Jeff Houghton told OI that when he first heard about the mission of RIP Medical Debt, he knew he had to do something for the Ozarks.

“When I first heard about RIP Medical Debt I was inspired, but then I learned that you can direct your campaign to your immediate area and I knew I needed to start something here in this place that I love that also has great need,” Houghton said.

RIP Medical Debt was so inspired by the results of the Great Ozarks Forgiveathon that they said they will be canceling the debt of up to $5 million in markets across the nation where The Mystery Hour airs.

(headline photo courtesy The Mystery Hour facebook page)

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