Camber Foundation invests $200,000 to relieve medical debt and support Medicaid enrollment for Eastern North Carolinians

This is a moment in time – a confluence of need and opportunity too powerful for Camber Foundation to ignore.

Enhancing access to resources that foster health and wellness is a primary focus for Camber Foundation, so naturally, the recent expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina caught the attention of the organization. With more than 600,000 North Carolinians newly eligible to enroll in Medicaid, Camber asked how to amplify this implementation in the communities it serves.

The answers were found in two organizations that are committed to addressing healthcare disparities. One is dedicated to the elimination of medical debt – RIP Medical Debt – and the other provides access to healthcare and assists in Medicaid enrollment – North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA).

Camber Foundation believes these grants work as a two-pronged approach to addressing medical debt for qualifying individuals through relief and education.

RIP Medical Debt

According to the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, nearly 40% of households in the United States have outstanding medical debt or problems paying medical bills, forcing millions of people to choose between medical bills and necessities like food, heating, and housing.

RIP Medical Debt collaborates with philanthropic organizations to purchase debt from healthcare providers at a lower rate to relieve the burden from qualifying individuals – those living in households below 4 times the federal poverty level or with debts 5% or more of annual household income. After the medical debt is forgiven, RIP notifies the families and helps repair their credit reports, restoring their access to opportunities and resources that allow them to rebuild.

With a grant of just under $100,000, Camber Foundation and RIP targeted and eliminated all the medical debt for eligible individuals in Eastern NC that was available for purchase as of January 1, 2024, totaling more than $19.6 million in face-value debt across 29 counties.

“At a time when many people in Eastern North Carolina are becoming eligible for Medicaid, we recognize the fresh start moment for individuals previously burdened by medical debt, who can now access care and work towards financial stability,” said Leslie Ann Jackson, president & CEO, Camber Foundation.

North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA)

NCCHCA consists of 43 nonprofit health centers that deliver medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health, and enabling services to more than 690,000 patients in North Carolina, without regard to their ability to pay or their insurance status.

Camber Foundation is furthering enrollment initiatives in Eastern NC communities through a $100,000 grant to NCCHCA. This grant is part of a two-year commitment that Camber Foundation is making to this effort.

“In order for Medicaid expansion to truly be effective, outreach and support for the enrollment of newly eligible North Carolinians is a must,” said Christopher Fipps, director of community investment, Camber Foundation.

NCCHCA reports that nearly 40% of their patients are uninsured, placing these health centers in an ideal position to identify patients now eligible for Medicaid and assist them in obtaining coverage.

This grant will enable NCCHCA to increase education, outreach, support, and enrollment in Medicaid, including the hiring of an additional regional support specialist to enhance Medicaid expansion in Eastern NC.

Accessible healthcare as a top priority

These grants demonstrate the importance Camber Foundation places on accessible healthcare.

Camber recognizes that many people accrued medical debt prior to having the ability to enroll in Medicaid. These two organizations, with the help of these grants, are offering a clear path forward to improved health and wellness.

For more information about Camber Foundation, its impactful grants, and grant application details, click here.

cam·ber | \ ˈkam-bər \ A positive, upward curve built into the beam of a bridge intended to distribute the load.