Do Mennonites Have Health Insurance (How Do Mennonites Pay for Healthcare)?

I was fascinated to learn that most Mennonites don’t have health insurance back in theology school. I sought to explore this, so I spent part of my semester break among them. I interacted with some of their leaders, who were kind enough to answer my questions. Recently, one of my students asked if Mennonites have health insurance. She heard about an auction in the nearby Mennonite community that sought to raise money for one of the members. To answer her question, I shared my experience living among the Mennonites and what I learned through research. We had a stimulating discussion on the Mennonites’ beliefs about health insurance. So, do Mennonites have health insurance?

Most conservative Mennonites reject health insurance. They believe it shows more trust in man than in God. Furthermore, they object to the hidden charges associated with health insurance. Mennonites insist on transparency to ensure they aren’t paying for more than the cost of care.

In this article, I’ll dive deeper into the culture and beliefs guiding the Mennonites’ stance on healthcare. I’ll explore their preferred payment method and what they’ve done to get affordable care.

What do Mennonites believe about health insurance?

Mennonites believe that health insurance, like every other form of insurance, is trusting in man more than God. Consequently, Old Order Mennonites reject health insurance. Furthermore, their belief in self-sufficiency and community reinforces this decision. In place of health insurance, conservative Mennonites pay cash or rely on their communities to help them cover medical expenses.

Why do Mennonites refuse to take health insurance?

How Do Mennonites Pay for Healthcare?
Why do Mennonites refuse to take health insurance? Image source: Pixabay

Mennonites refuse health insurance because they believe it indicates trust in man over God. Furthermore, these groups insist it’s their responsibility as Christians to care for the sick among them. A study further revealed that Old Order Mennonites refuse health insurance because they believe the government allowed hospitals to charge more than the actual cost of healthcare. As such, Mennonites insist that the bills reflect the cost of care.

How do Mennonites pay for their medical expenses?

Mennonites pay for medical care in cash. It’s common for conservative communities to band together and raise money to cover the healthcare costs of one member. You’ll often find them in auctions buying and selling household or farm produce to raise money. Alternatively, they use their savings to cover smaller costs.

Among more contemporary Mennonite communities, you’ll find Mutual aid programs. These are founded based on Galatians 6:2. The community would contribute what they have towards a common fund and benefit from it during a crisis. Mutual aid has existed for nearly a century and has served as the Mennonites’ insurance provider outside the competitive systems.

Finally, in extreme cases, and with the permission of their leaders, some Mennonites sign up for health insurance. This decision is taken when all else fails and is rarer among Old Order Mennonites.

Where do Mennonites go for their health care services?

Do Mennonites Have Health Insurance?
Where do Mennonites go for their health care services? Image source: Pixabay

The rising costs force Mennonites to travel around the US looking for affordable care. If they don’t find it, they’ll go outside the US, usually to South America, where the costs are lower. Interestingly, some Mennonite communities work out a favorable payment plan with local hospitals trying to attract self-paying clients to help them stay afloat. Such agreements are slowly gaining traction since the hospitals offer price transparency, one of the Mennonites’ main demands.

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