The local healthcare insurance system in Israel known as “Kupot Cholim“ provides all Israeli residents with free access to basic medical care.
The Kupot Cholim is divided into four health insurance funds. Each Israeli citizen is free to choose the health fund he/she wants to register with: - the Clalit health fund covers 54% of Israeli citizens - the Maccabi health fund covers 23% of Israeli citizens - the Meuhedet health fund covers 12% of Israeli citizens - the Leumit health fund covers less than 10% of Israeli citizens
However, they can switch health funds every six months. Each year, the Ministry of Health releases a list of basic medical care that must be covered by all health funds in order to avoid competition between the four health funds. Still, this insurance cover is not enough as it only reimburses basic medical care set by the government. This is why it is highly recommended to take out top-up health insurance. But you will often have to pay an out-of-pocket amount for certain services (e.g. for drugs) even if you are covered by a complementary health insurance plan.
The local healthcare system is funded via contributions deducted from salaries. The contributions collected are then split between the four health funds by the Kupot Cholim.
Visiting a doctor in Israel
Israeli GPs mainly see their patients in free health centers. There are call centers to get an appointment. The national telephone number is *3833 available 24 hours a day. Israeli GPs are paid directly by the Kupot Cholim, which is why you do not need to make cash advances for your medical expenses. You only need to show your doctor the magnetic card issued by your health insurance fund.
You can switch GPs two times per quarter. However, if you want to see a third doctor during the quarter, for example in order to have a second medical opinion, you will have to pay ILS 154 (around USD 43).
A consultation with a private doctor costs around ILS 300 (around USD 83).
Specialist doctors in Israel: In case of specific medical care, your GP will refer you to the appropriate specialist. The healthcare insurance system in Israel provides high-quality care and medical equipment.
To see a specialist doctor in Israel, you will have to pay an amount of ILS 600 (around USD 160) per quarter. You will be able to see the specialist during the entire quarter without paying the consultation again.
Doctors speak English and Hebrew.
Being admitted to hospital in Israel
Hospitals in Israel Waiting times may be long if you do not have an appointment. Hospitals meet quality standards in terms of medical infrastructure and hygiene. Furthermore, consultations are free if you have a prescription.
Buying medication in Israel
Drugs are reimbursed up to the limit set by the Kupot Cholim. Even if you have top-up health insurance, you will have to pay an out-of-pocket amount of 15% per drug.
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