In recent years, soaring healthcare costs have plunged numerous households into medical debt, a financial burden threatening their economic stability, health, and well-being. With the U.S. healthcare system’s complexity, many find themselves unprepared for the exorbitant bills that can follow unexpected medical emergencies or even routine healthcare procedures. This issue requires comprehensive understanding and action on both individual and systemic levels.

Nearly a quarter of Americans have medical debt, according to a LendingTree survey fielded earlier in 2022. These medical expenses are often unforeseen, which can be problematic for Americans without established emergency funds, with small credit card limits, or other roadblocks. However, Toledo, Ohio, passed a community-scale medical debt relief initiative in partnership with Lucas County.