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Private health insurance in Israel

March 25, 2022 360 Time to read: 11 min.

Israel has one of the most technologically advanced and efficient healthcare systems on par with Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong or the US. According to a report by the leading American news agency Bloomberg, Israeli medicine ranks second in the world in terms of professionalism and quality patient care. Every citizen of the Israeli state, including new immigrants, has access to medical care, thanks to the presence of a state health insurance policy. Next, we will tell you how to maintain access to medical care in Israel, even if you do not plan to transfer the center of your vital interests to the Israeli state.

WRAI experts are familiar with all the subtleties and peculiarities of the Israeli health insurance system. Our experts will help you choose a health insurance fund, explain what additional bonuses you can get if you purchase additional insurance and a private health insurance policy.

The health insurance system in Israel

The Israeli state has a system of compulsory health insurance. This means that every citizen over the age of 18 is required to pay insurance premiums to the National Insurance Institute and be a member of one of the sickness funds (kupat holim).

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    New repatriates, as well as returning Israelis, are exempt from paying Bituah Leumi (National Insurance Institute) contributions for a year after repatriation.

    Directly at the airport, in the office of the Ministry of Absorption, the new immigrant (ole hadash) receives a confirmation certificate to one of the pre-selected health insurance companies. The procedure is free. To complete the registration, you need to appear in person at the branch of the Health Insurance Fund, where you will receive a magnetic card. New repatriates are exempt from paying membership fees for the first 6 months. Lacking income and a permanent place of work, the grace period is extended for another 6 months. At the same time, the new immigrant is entitled to use medical services in Israel as part of the basic package, which is called the “health basket”.

    WRAI held a webinar about the insurance system in Israel. You can watch it on our YouTube channel: watch video

    Choosing a Health Insurance Fund

    Kupat Holim is an organization that simultaneously performs the functions of an insurance company and a health service. Each health insurance fund has its network of polyclinics, medical centers and pharmacies. Regardless of which kupat holim a person is registered in, he is entitled to receive a set of diagnostic and medical services within the framework of the “health basket”, if he has a basic state health insurance policy.

    You should choose one of the health insurance funds even before you arrive in Israel. There are four of them in Israel, each has its own advantages and disadvantages:

    • Clalit is one of the largest funds in terms of the number of members. But this is its big disadvantage—due to the large number of clients, giant queues to specialists accumulate. The advantage is that Clalit belongs to 14 major medical centers.
    • Leumit. Service at the box office, at the highest level, pleasantly pleased with the absence of queues. Some notice an insufficient number of branches in cities.
    • Maccabi is the newest and most modern health insurance fund in Israel. The box office is the second largest in the country.
    • Meuhedet. The only drawback of the institution is the low representation in the settlements. Considered the most affordable medical care, services are provided quickly.

    If desired, any citizen of Israel can switch to another cash desk for service. You can do this no more than 2 times a year. Minors belong to the same kupat holim as their parents.

    How you can lose access to free Israeli medicine

    Once again, I would like to emphasize that every new immigrant is entitled to medical care on an equal footing with the native citizens of Israel. If he is not satisfied with the range of services included in the basic package, you can expand the list by purchasing an extended insurance policy from your health insurance.

    The price of the policy always depends on the age of the member of the health insurance fund. If the basic policy costs up to 80 shekels per month, then the price of the extended one will depend both on age and on the set of services.

    Many repatriates are concerned about why the health insurance fund is being canceled after a long absence from Israel and how one can maintain access to free medical care, even after a long stay outside the country.

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      If a new immigrant lives outside of Israel for a long time, he does not lose Israeli citizenship, but from the point of view of the National Insurance Institute, such a person ceases to be an “Israeli resident” (resident), and, therefore, access to free state medical care is closed to him. Even the timely payment of national insurance premiums and membership fees to kupat holim can not change the situation.

      Access to Israeli medicine can be maintained under the following conditions:

      • Israeli citizenship or permanent residence permit;
      • Permanent residence in the territory of the Israeli state—at least 183 days a year, or the concentration of the center of vital interests in the country. This implies that the person has a permanent place of residence in Israel, a job or a business. Here are the members of his family;
      • Regular payment of mandatory insurance premiums.

      If a citizen does not live most of the year in Israel, he ceases to be a resident and loses the right to medical care.

      National Insurance Institute in Israel. Bituach Leumi office of the Israeli National Institute of Social Services and Welfare in Haifa.

      Naturally, this does not happen forever. Upon returning to the country (for permanent residence in it), you will need to apply to the National Insurance Institute with an application, which sets out a request for the restoration of resident status. The waiting period is equal to 1 month for each year of absence from Israel. If you wish, you can speed up the process, but you will have to pay a fine of about 12,000 shekels.

      But there is a way out of any situation. Our WRAI recommends that our clients purchase a private health insurance policy during the public health insurance period. Thus, it will be possible to maintain access to Israeli medicine even without being a resident.

      Private insurance as a way of keeping access to Israeli medicine

      WRAI experts recommend paying attention to private health insurance for those repatriates who do not intend to transfer the center of their vital interests to Israel and do not think of living here on a permanent basis.

      The fact is that if you do not stay in Israel for a year or more, the National Insurance Institute will not consider you a resident of the country and will cancel the state health insurance. Registration of voluntary private insurance until the cancellation of the state one will allow you to maintain access to Israeli medicine and significantly save on costs. Buying private insurance at a time when the state is no longer valid is not possible.

      After canceling the public insurance, you still have a private health insurance policy. Having a private health insurance policy will allow you to:

      • Get the full range of diagnostic and medical services as part of the insurance package;
      • Choose a doctor, clinic;
      • Save time waiting in line to see a specialist;
      • Receive significant discounts on the purchase of medicines, medical devices;
      • Get full or partial coverage for the cost of medical services, including surgeries.
      WRAI specialists, through their subscription service, help you find the best specialist in your field, arrange and submit documents to the insurance company for financial compensation and resolve other important health insurance issues.

      How to choose a private health insurance company

      The experts of the consulting center “WRAI” are also ready to help with the solution of this issue. With us you can get full professional support at all stages of insurance. Our consultants will give detailed explanations and help you choose the best insurance policy that meets your needs and requests. Our support is expressed in the following:

      • Assistance in choosing an insurance company that cooperates with the best medical centers;
      • Protection of the interests of the client before the insurance company.

      We recommend to our clients the private insurance company “Menora Mivtachim” for cooperation. In 2018, it was named as one of the largest financial institutions in Israel. In the overall rating of insurance companies in terms of fees, Menora Mivtachim ranks 5th. In the field of life insurance and pensions, it takes the 3rd place.

      The company deals with various types of insurance:

      • life insurance;
      • General insurance;
      • Medical insurance;
      • Retirement.

      Consider the health insurance we are interested in. A thorough study of the market and customer needs has allowed Menora Mivtachim specialists to develop a range of different programs that best meet customer needs. The list of available medical services may include diagnostic, dental, cosmetic, surgical, and so on, which are not included in the list of basic and additional public insurance.

      A special department of the company monitors changes in the medical services market. Considering new trends, innovative insurance products for adults and children are being developed. Their goal is to ensure that clients receive quality medical care and provide the most advanced options in the field of health insurance.

      Prices for private health insurance

      The cost of a private health insurance policy will depend on the range of services, the age, and gender of the patient (the table shows monthly prices in shekels):

      Cost for men:

      Age 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60-70
      Minimum package of operations and medicines 54₪ 68₪ 100₪ 157₪ 260₪
      Outpatient services 13₪ 13₪ 16₪ 16₪ 16₪
      Quick Diagnosis 17₪ 17₪ 17₪ 17₪ 17₪
      Council of Doctors 10₪ 10₪ 10₪ 10₪ 10₪
      Alternative medicine 19₪ 19₪ 19₪ 19₪ 19₪
      Total amount 113₪ 127₪ 162₪ 219₪ 322₪

      Cost for women and children:

      Age 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60-70 0-18
      Minimum package of operations and medicines 70₪ 91₪ 126₪ 195₪ 228₪ 35₪
      Outpatient services 41₪ 41₪ 16₪ 16₪ 16₪ 17₪
      Quick Diagnosis 17₪ 17₪ 17₪ 17₪ 17₪ 17₪
      Council of Doctors 10₪ 10₪ 10₪ 10₪ 10₪ 8₪
      Alternative medicine 19₪ 19₪ 19₪ 19₪ 19₪ 9₪
      Total amount 158₪ 179₪ 188₪ 257₪ 290₪ 86₪

      It turns out that the older the insured person, the more expensive the cost of the same option will be.

      Private health insurance can act as additional coverage to an existing public policy.

      For new immigrants who do not expect to live in Israel for a long time and do not seek to transfer their center of vital interests here, the purchase of a private health insurance policy allows them to maintain access to quality Israeli medicine even if the health insurance fund is canceled.

      WRAI experts will help you to get an exclusive insurance policy that will be able to cover the costs of medical treatment, surgery, and the purchase of drugs. In case of disputes between the insurance company and our clients, we are always ready to defend their interests.

      In addition, the specialists of our center provide comprehensive support in solving various issues that arise after repatriation. Our help will be especially relevant for those who do not intend to stay in Israel for a long time. We will control the resident status, maintain the activity of the bank account, sort out correspondence and solve other equally important tasks.

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