Secret Santas: Charity buys and erases past-due medical debt

ALBANY (AP) — After a lifetime collecting debts, Jerry Ashton and Craig Antico are eliminating them.

The co-founders of RIP Medical Debt buy millions of dollars in past-due medical debt for pennies on the dollar. But instead of hounding people to pay, they send letters saying the debt is erased, no strings attached.

The Rye, New York-based organization uses donated money to erase crushing medical debt that threatens the financial well-being of thousands of American families. The charity says it has erased $475 million in debt for more than 250,000 people since it was founded four years ago.