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RIP Medical Debt, TransUnion Expand Partnership

 |  By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   September 16, 2021

RIP uses donated funds to purchase medical debts belonging to financially burdened people.

National nonprofit RIP Medical Debt is expanding its partnership with TransUnion Healthcare to make it easier for healthcare providers use the RIP Medical Debt model in its revenue cycle process.

RIP uses donated funds to purchase medical debts belonging to financially burdened people.

That combines with TransUnion's financial clearance solutions, which allow hospitals to identify missed insurance coverage and segment the remaining patient payment balances based on financial assistance eligibility and likelihood of payment.

"As RCM leaders examine their bad debt portfolios, careful consideration to the patients’ financial position is a key element for stratifying the financial classes into the most appropriate categories of payment, payment over time, charity, and debt forgiveness," Jonathan Wiik, principal of healthcare strategy at TransUnion Healthcare, tells HealthLeaders via email. "Having patients pay within their ability—and fast-tracking into charity those who are unable to pay their bills—affords a balanced self-pay accounts receivable portfolio."

Here's how it works:

  1. After an insurance discovery search, providers assess their patients' ability to pay and presumptively qualify them for charity care while segmenting those accounts for follow-up.
  2. After collections efforts have ended, providers send their dormant self-pay accounts to RIP Medical Debt.
  3. RIP Medical Debt uses TransUnion Healthcare's financial assistance analytics to identify accounts for people in financial hardship and buys the accounts at fair market value with donor funds or receive them via donation.
  4. After abolishing the debt, RIP Medical Debt sends debt relief notices to the provider's patients along with other debt repair information.

Wiik says the partnership will also help revenue cycle leaders re-evaluate the upstream causes of patient nonpayment by asking a couple of key questions.

"How well are we differentiating between a willingness and ability to pay? Are these accounts truly collectible or should they be classed as charity-eligible?" he says. "Answering these questions with powerful data insights can afford a more compliant, positive, and compassionate financial outcome for patient and provider."

In related news, RIP Medical Debt also announced that it reached a new milestone of relieve more than $5 billion in medical debt for patients experiencing financial hardship

In July, Ballad Health partnered with RIP Medical Debt to eliminate $277,974,370.31 of non-governmental payer medical debt for approximately 82,000 people previously served by Ballad Health. It was the first time that RIP purchased the debt directly from a hospital.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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