Amish Health Insurance?
May 27th, 2009
The Amish people live very simple lives. During the early 1700s many of the Southern German Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania. Today many of the Amish continue to live much the same way they did in the 18th century. Some of the Amish have more health problems related to genetic disorders. The occurrence of genetic disorders, such as dwarfism and Down syndrome, may be related to intermarriage with cousins and second cousins. To prevent genetic disorders, many Amish people marry members of different Amish societies. Unfortunately, people with some genetic disorders need health care. Access to health care is often a problem for the Amish because they don’t believe in carrying health insurance.
Since most Amish people do not have health insurance, they have to pay for their medical care in cash. The Amish have no confidence in the modern life of the “Englishers” (everyone who isn’t Amish). They feel no need for preventive medicine. The Amish are more reactive than proactive. They do not always take action to prevent disease, because they feel that God will heal them if they do get sick. Some Amish children do get vaccinated; however, less than half of the Amish population will have their children vaccinated.
The Amish are not forbidden to purchase health coverage; however, the practice of having health insurance is frowned upon to a great degree. Amish people take care of each other. They often do seek health care professionals for assistance in childbirth. The Amish will also use medical practitioners for illnesses and injuries that are beyond the scope or their ability to treat at home. If an Amish person sees a doctor it is an emergency because the cost of health care is high, and they have no health insurance for the services they receive.
Generally, the overall health of the Amish is as good as or better than the non-Amish population. The reason for their hearty state of health might be due to hard work, and their diet of homegrown food, and healthy lifestyle. The Amish manage very well without the benefits of health insurance. Though they are a secluded society, they do allow doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to treat them. They don’t trust everyone; the Amish learn to trust the medical professionals who respect their lifestyle. The Amish have lived the way they do for hundreds of years; they don’t want outsiders trying to change their way of life to fit in with the modern world.
Can an Amish person leave the faith to embrace a more modern way of life and health care? The Amish way of life is a strict one. A large number of Amish children will leave the Amish lifestyle and religion to fit in with society when they come of age. There is a period in their young lives when Amish teens can leave the Amish life and interact with the “Englishers” to experience the modern life. This time of their lives is called Rumspringa. After the period of Rumspringa is over, the young people may choose to forsake the Amish religion and lifestyle and they may live as everyone else does. Living, as other people do, and protecting themselves with health insurance would not be considered wrong once they have forsaken the ways of the Amish people. If they choose to go back to their Amish life after the period of Rumspringa the young people will be baptized and live their lives as the Amish do.