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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland City Council approved a plan Monday night to erase millions of dollars in medical debt for around 50,000 residents in the city.
Under the legislation, the city will donate $1.9 million to RIP Medical Debt, which uses donations to buy up large bundles of medical debt from local hospitals, doctor groups and clinics before wiping it out.
The donation comes from Cleveland’s more than $511 million in American Rescue Plan relief funds.
City council unanimously approved the legislation during Monday night’s meeting.
“This will alleviate stress, expand access to healthcare, and improve credit for Clevelanders,” Cleveland City Council said in a tweet Monday night.
In order to qualify, city council says residents must live in a household with income up to 400% of federal poverty guidelines or have medical debt that’s at least 5% of the annual household income.
A one-person household making up to $54,360 is eligible. This also applies for a six-person household making up to $148,760.
This means that about 80% of Clevelanders are eligible, council says. Residents whose debt is being erased will receive a letter in the mail from RIP Medical Debt.
RIP Medical Debt is now negotiating with local hospitals to participate in the program.
Read more about the legislation here.