Surprise! Medical debts paid for 10,000 Bexar residents

RIP Medical Debt partners with EarnIn to ease burden

SAN ANTONIO – If you open your mailbox this week and see an envelope from RIP Medical Debt, open it. It’s not junk, it’s not a bill, and it’s not a scam. What it may be is life-changing.

Nearly 10,000 Bexar County residents have had their medical debt wiped out thanks to a partnership between the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt and EarnIn, a financial technology company.

“We often hear from people, ‘This seems too good to be true. I opened the letter, I couldn’t believe it,’” said Daniel Lempert with RIP Medical Debt. “We get that because there isn’t a huge precedent of good news showing up in people’s mailboxes.”

RIP Medical Debt is a charity that buys debt in bulk for pennies on the dollar. This time it totaled $13.9 million in debt burdening Bexar county residents. EarnIn donated the money to acquire the debt. But instead of trying to collect the debt, they abolished it.

What’s the catch?

“No catch,” said EarnIn’s Brittanie Williams. “We did it because it is part of our company mission. We want to give people financial momentum, and the first part is getting unstuck.”

Medical debt in the U.S. is chronic and crippling. An estimated one in five people has medical debt and it takes a financial, mental and physical toll. According to Lempert, people stressed by medical debts are less likely to go to the doctor.

“We went out and looked for places where we could have the most impact,” Williams said. “Bexar County is one of the places with the most medical debt, number three in the country.”

The debt forgiveness is not something people can apply for.

“We are specifically purchasing debts of those who are four times or below the federal poverty level or their medical debt is 5% or more of their gross annual income,” Lempert said.

Should someone accidentally throw the letter away, the debt is still erased and will no longer show up on their credit report.

Still, it’s advised recipients keep the letter for their records. They can also verify the information by going to

Note: If you receive notice that your medical debt has been paid, we’d like to hear from you. Email

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About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.