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More Israelis switching health funds, thanks to Internet

March 22, 2014 23:04

Israelis were conservative about changing health insurers and tended to stick with one of the four public health funds.

Children receiving medical treatment in hospital

Children receiving medical treatment in hospital 370 (R). (photo credit:Jorge Lopez / Reuters)

The largest-ever number of health fund switches – 122,000 – took place last year, after the Health Ministry’s 2012 decision to allow Israelis to change health funds over the Internet instead of going to the post office.

The figure is a 30 percent increase over 2012’s switches.

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Israelis were conservative about changing health insurers and tended to stick with one of the four public health funds, even if they were somewhat dissatisfied.

The ministry data were based on reports from the National Insurance Institute, which is responsible for allocating monthly health taxes among the health funds after collecting them – along with NII social security payments – from wages.

In 2013, 83,884 switches were carried out at post offices and 38,413 – almost one-third of total changes – via the NII website. The rate of changing health funds was 1.6%. Older Israelis tend to switch health funds less, apparently because they are well familiar with their health fund’s physicians, who are already familiar with their medical conditions, including chronic diseases.

The age group that switches health funds the most (via their parents) is four-years-old or younger, while the lowest rate of changing is over 65.

The rate of exits from Clalit Health Services, the largest insurer, was 0.9%, compared to 1.2% from Maccabi Health Fund, 2.6% from Meuhedet and 4.6% from Leumit, the smallest health fund.

A total of 1.2% joined Clalit, 1.3% for Maccabi, 2.5% for Meuhedet and 3% for Leumit.

Last year, nearly 20,000 Leumit members switched to Clalit, while only 8,000 left Clalit for Leumit. It was the third year in a row that more people joined Clalit than left it, indicating that after decades of dissatisfaction with the health fund, more customers are satisfied. About the same percentages left and joined Maccabi and Meuhedet.
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