A sample bottle containing E. coli bacteria is seen at the Health Protection Agency in north London.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Switching public health funds - especially among ages 25 to 45 - has grown significantly in the last year, largely thanks to the ability to change via the Internet and not only at post offices.
This was disclosed Sunday in a Health Ministry report prepared by its administration for strategic and economic planning.
The ministry noted that switching health funds is lowest over the age of 55, and that 95 percent of the shifting was done by individuals under that age. But it did not explain the reason – that since nursing care policies are provided by private companies affiliated with the public health funds and with members of the same health fund, switching insurers jeopardizes the policies that members have paid for every month for years and decades. The Finance Ministry’s official in charge of insurance and the Health Ministry’s official in charge of the public health funds have not managed since National Health Insurance began in 1995 to separate nursing coverage from the public health funds.
Using the Internet is a positive thing, the ministry maintained, because it increases competition among the four funds, Clalit Health Services, Maccabi Health Services, Meuhedet Health Services and Leumit Health Services, “giving them incentive to improve the services given by the health funds to their members.”
The ministry said the ability to shift to another health fund via the Web has been possible for the last four years, and the option has significantly grown in popularity, thus “improving services to the citizen.” The younger the insured are, the more likely a switch, while the older they are, especially over 55, the less likely the insured is to switch, even if he or she is dissatisfied with the health fund.
It costs NIS 17 to switch health funds via the Postal Company and is free via the Internet.
The report was the first to process data on switching health funds according to residence in the social and geographical periphery compared to the well off and those living in the center of the country. The lower one is on the social/economic scale, the more likely one is to switch health funds (below the age of 55).
During the first three years of National Health Insurance, 4 percent of residents switched, but during the next 15, it stabilized at a low 2% a year. While switching health funds at the post office encompassed only 2% annually between 2012 and 2015, switching by the Internet totaled 14% a year during that period. While more than 100,000 residents under the age of 65 switched in 2014, only about 2,000 older people changed their health funds – due to the nursing care problem unmentioned by the ministry.
The largest “exodus” of members was from Leumit, the smallest health fund, to Clalit, the largest one, according to the report.