(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Nearly a third of Israeli families spend between NIS 200 and NIS 600 per month on medications, and 18% say they had to forgo medical treatment in the last five years because they couldn’t afford it.
This emerges from a survey conducted by the Hasdei Naomi organization, conducted on a representative sample of 500 respondents through the Rafi Smith Research Institute.
The survey shows that 41% of the public purchased drugs costing NIS 51 to NIS 200, 16% spend between NIS 201 and NIS 400, 6% between NIS 401 and NIS 600 and 8% spend over NIS 600.
According to the survey, 24% of Haredim gave up on medical treatment, compared to 18% of the modern Orthodox and 16% of the secular populations.
Surprisingly, Tel Aviv residents were most likely to forgo medical treatment – 23% in five years, compared to 17% of Jerusalemites, 16% of those in the South and the Sharon region, and 14% of those in the North.
Of the 12% of the public who said they decided not to undergo medical treatment for economic reasons, 46% said they had to forgo dental care, 35% said they had not purchased certain medications, and 27% said they did not undergo surgery not covered by their health fund – some citing more than one reason.
According to Hasdei Naomi, a 30-year-old charitable organization founded by Rabbi Yosef Cohen, providing assistance to disadvantaged populations has become more difficult.
“The cases we encounter are shocking, and most of the people are suffering from several diseases at the same time – even more than one type of cancer at a time,” Cohen said.
Even when they have ordinary conditions such as a bad cold or allergy, some people don’t buy the medications because of the co-payments to their health fund.
“So people look in garbage cans not only for food but also for anticold medications,” the organization said.