Thanks to viewers' help and a donation from our parent company, NBC Owned Television Stations, about $215,000 has been raised for RIP Medical Debt, the nonprofit behind those little yellow envelopes.
The donation is enough to wipe out more than $21 million worth of medical bills in North Texas.
Craig Antico, founder of the charity, worked as a debt collector for years buying up as many medicals bills hospitals would sell and then trying to collect the money. He still searches for hospitals willing to sell debt, only now he throws away what he buys, sending out letters to let people know of the good news. He came to Texas last week with some news.
“There are gonna be more people getting envelopes," Antico said.
"The amount that you guys gave, of course, abolished almost $17 million. This next amount is going to abolish probably another $10 million," Antico said.
He says the donations kept coming in from NBC 5 viewers and he’s been setting it aside in the bank. Now he’s out there convincing medical providers to sell him their old bills.
"Only about 25 percent of the hospitals actually sell their debt. Most of them use collection agency after collection agency and there’s $75 billion of that debt out there in this country that’s just with collection agencies and debt buyers," he added.
The debt is being purchased now, letters should be going out in a couple of weeks. We will update you on when they're actually in the mail.