Make your home page

United Way eases medical debt for over 100,000 Hoosiers

Easing medical debt strain for Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In an inspiring move toward community well-being, the United Way of Central Indiana and the United Neighborhood Centers of Indianapolis are alleviating financial burdens for Hoosiers across Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan, and Putnam counties.

“The letter in my hand, it reads in part, ‘You no longer owe the medical debt listed in this letter,’” said Fred Payne, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Central Indiana.

That letter was sent to 112,000 Hoosiers. The United Neighborhood Center of Indianapolis and the United Way of Central Indiana raised $1.7 million to relieve more than $239 million in medical debt.

Peggy Frame, executive director of Southeast Community Services, said, “Our hope is that our neighbors will show up at our centers with a letter in hand saying, ‘Can you believe this happened? Is this real?’ It just takes so many burdens away for so many families.”

By easing the burden of medical debt, these local organizations are not just providing immediate relief.

Sam Snideman, vice president of government relations for United Way, said, “The sort of second- and third-order effects of what this will do to generate extra economic activity across central Indiana are huge. So, I think, for us, we’ve never been able to do something at quite this magnitude before.”

Medical debt contributes to two-thirds of all bankruptcies filed in the United States.

Frame said, “90% of Americans have health insurance and more than half still have medical debt.”

A second letter will go out to provide further verification, along with additional educational resources to help keep families out of debt.

Sniderman said, “The work isn’t going to stop with a one-time gift. It’s going to be creating opportunities for information sharing with these beneficiaries so they know where to get resources. Come to the community centers. They have the resources to help you from there.”