Hospitals and healthcare organizations have been given permission by the Department of Health & Human Services’s Office of Inspector General to sell their debts directly to RIP Medical Debt without having to go through a third-party, according to an advisory opinion released last week.
The OIG’s advisory opinion was released following a petition from RIP Medical Debt that sought to expand its potential network of debt selling partners.
Previously, RIP Medical Debt was limited to purchasing portfolios of unpaid healthcare debts from commercial debt sellers, which purchased the accounts from hospitals and healthcare providers. Now, RIP Medical Debt can skip the middleman and purchase directly from the providers themselves.
RIP Medical Debt made the news back in June 2016 when it helped HBO’s John Oliver purchase and forgive $15 million of unpaid medical debt. The organization has also worked with nurses in Minnesota and a start-up healthcare company in California to purchase and forgive unpaid medical debts. A number of television stations across the country have also made headlines for donating to RIP Medical Debt to help purchase portfolios and then have those debts forgiven. Since its inception, the organization has abolished more than $2.5 billion in unpaid healthcare bills.
As part of the arrangement, providers that sell debts to RIP Medical Debt would not publicize the sale or donation of portfolios and RIP Medical Debt agreed to not identify any providers that work with the organization in any of its promotional materials.
The Advisory Opinion states that providers will not run afoul of anti-kickback regulations or civil monetary penalty laws should it sell or donate portfolios to RIP Medical Debt.