Covered by Documenter Kathryn Johnson
What happened: Cleveland City Council members learned the details of how $1.9 million of American Rescue Plan Act money would be used to wipe away medical debt for thousands of Clevelanders. RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit, will run the program, which council approved at its meeting that evening. People are eligible if they are Cleveland residents and fit one of the following criteria:
- Household income is between 0% and 400% of federal poverty guidelines (the poverty line is $30,000 for a family of four)
- The medical debt is 5% or more of the annual household income
About 81% of Cleveland residents are estimated to meet the income requirement, according to Keith Hearle, a senior advisor for RIP Medical Debt. Officials believe the $1.9 million could help about 50,000 residents.
Waiting on hospitals: Hearle explained that RIP Medical Debt enters agreements with hospitals. It is still discussing the program with Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth, he said.