Insurance mandate exempts many plain AnabaptistsBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
The 2010 health-care reform law, recently upheld by the Supreme Court, includes an individual mandate requiring “everyone” to carry insurance.
But not plain-sect Mennonites and the Amish. They forgo medical insurance, seeking to trust God and help each other, often through mutual-aid plans. The Affordable Care Act will not change that.
A narrow category in the law allows religious groups who are exempt from Social Security payroll taxes also to be exempt from the requirement to have health insurance.
Granted on the basis of religious conscience, “it’s a pretty straightforward exemption,” said Steve Nolt, a professor of history at Goshen (Ind.) College and an expert on plain Anabaptist groups, in an email.
But he said the exemption is “not immediately obvious when reading the text of the law, because conservative Anabaptist groups are not mentioned by name anywhere.”
The majority of the religious groups exempt from Social Security payroll taxes are Anabaptist. More than 3,100 Amish, conservative Mennonite and Hutterite congregations are exempt.
Each member who “holds to the tenets of their respective group” is exempt from the individual mandate, said Timothy S. Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va.
Four categories named in the law exempt people from the individual mandate:
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