Lincoln Church’s Medical Debt Program Raises Over $1 Million

A Lincoln church’s effort to “love thy neighbor” is growing beyond belief. The Congregational Church of First-Plymouth helps hundreds of families pay their medical bills. In just five months, the church cleared over $1 million in debt. Associate Pastor Juan Carlos Huertas said it started as a way to let the congregation share their blessings. “Medical debt became a way to help our neighbors at a time when they needed it so much,” Huertas said. The church partnered with an unlikely but logical source, a debt collection agency. “And literally make a deal to help ease the burden of our neighbors’ lives,” Huertas said. the debt and the church would pay it off. “That’s how it has an immediate impact on the lives of our neighbors,” Huertas said. church with tears in my eyes and say, I can’t believe this happened. Just came out of nowhere. I get a letter that says my medical debt is gone. Thank you and thank God,” Senior Pastor Jim Keck said. The program recently inspired someone to donate money to buy debt forgiveness for people in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. As it is over an area, they were able to get a massive discount which resulted in over $1 million in medical debt relief. be that medical debt. But there are and we want to help people,” Keck said. In Nebraska and nationally, medical debt is rising with higher insurance premiums and a growing number of uninsured. bad debts incurred by Nebraska hospitals. they have this medical debt, or we have trouble finding food for their table because of this medical debt. We learn this happens too often,” Huertas said. He said the effort also transformed his congregation. “As we join others in solidarity. We are changing to become more loving, compassionate, kind, just people, that’s the gift our neighbors have given us,” Huertas said. The First Church-Plymouth Medical Debt Program will run until Easter 2023. Click here for more information about the program.

A Lincoln church’s effort to “love thy neighbor” is growing beyond belief.

The First-Plymouth Congregational Church helps hundreds of families pay their medical bills.

In just five months, the church cleared over $1 million in debt.

Associate Pastor Juan Carlos Huertas said it started as a way to let the congregation share their blessings.

“Medical debt became a way to help our neighbors at a time when they needed it so much,” Huertas said.

He said the question was how.

So the church partnered with an unlikely but logical source, a debt collection agency.

“And literally make a deal to help ease the burden of our neighbors’ lives,” Huertas said.

He said the agency would provide the church with anonymous profiles of people who had medical debt and the church would repay it.

“That’s how it has an immediate impact on the lives of our neighbors,” Huertas said.

Since March, the church has raised nearly $300,000 and helped 200 families locally.

“We saw people walking up to the church with tears in their eyes and saying, I can’t believe this happened. Just out of nowhere. I get a letter that says my medical debt is exhausted. Thank you and thank God,” Senior Pastor Jim Keck said.

The program recently inspired someone to donate money to buy debt forgiveness for people in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.

As this is an area, they were able to get a massive reduction which resulted in over $1 million in medical debt relief.

“A deep part of it is that there shouldn’t be medical debt. But there is, and we want to help people,” Keck said.

In Nebraska and nationally, medical debt is rising with higher insurance premiums and a growing number of uninsured people.

In a 2021 survey by the Nebraska Hospital Association, it was found in 2020 that there were over $186 million in bad debt incurred by Nebraska hospitals.

Bad debt is the fastest growing segment of unpaid care for hospitals.

And has become very real for many families according to Huertas.

“We hear about people who can’t pay the light bill because they have this medical debt, or we have trouble finding food for their table because of this medical debt. We hear that happens too often,” Huertas said. said.

He said the effort also transformed his congregation.

“As we join others in solidarity. We change to become more loving, compassionate, kind, just people, that’s the gift our neighbors have given us,” Huertas said.

The First-Plymouth Church Medical Debt Program will continue until Easter 2023.

Click here for more information about the program.


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John A. Bogar