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A nonprofit group called R.I.P. Medical Debt has relieved Americans of $11 billion in hospital bills. But that did not improve their mental health or their credit scores, a study found.

Over the past decade, R.I.P. Medical Debt has grown from a tiny nonprofit group that received less than $3,000 in donations to a multimillion-dollar force in health care philanthropy.

It has done so with a unique and simple strategy to tackling the enormous amounts that Americans owe hospitals: buying up old bills that would otherwise be sold to collection agencies and wiping out the debt.

Since 2014, R.I.P. Medical Debt estimates that it has eliminated more than $11 billion of debt with the help of major donations from philanthropists and even city governments. In January, New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, announced plans to give the organization $18 million.

But a study published by a group of economists on Monday calls into question

Keep reading this article on The New York Times Your Money.

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