R.I.P. Medical Debt, a charity focused on alleviating financial hardship resulting from medical care, announced Tuesday that it had reached a deal with a hospital system in Tennessee and West Virginia to purchase and cancel the bills of 82,000 low-income patients, $278 million in all. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but buyers on the secondary market are often able to buy patients’ medical debts for a far lower price than the bills demand of the patients. Many of the patients qualified for Ballad Health’s financial aid programs and should not have been billed for the services, The Wall Street Journal reports. Ballad has brought more than 44,000 lawsuits against its patients, including its own employees, over unpaid medical bills since 2009, according to The New York Times.
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