Israeli health funds, especially Clalit, report growing deficits for 2016

A report was published Sunday morning by the Health Ministry’s unit that supervises the health funds, revealing new information about Israeli health funds.

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September 17, 2017 20:40
2 minute read.
SENIORS ARE SEEN in Sderot. A baby born in Israel today can expect to live 71.7 years in good health

SENIORS ARE SEEN in Sderot. A baby born in Israel today can expect to live 71.7 years in good health, and about 82.1 years overall. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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The combined deficits of the country’s four insurers rose to NIS 2.44 billion in 2016 from NIS 1.99b. in 2015, according to a report published Sunday by the Health Ministry’s unit that supervises the health funds.

Even with substantial Treasury grants to the insurers last year, the net accumulative deficit of the health funds totaled NIS 797 million.

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The deficit was affected mainly by that of Clalit Health Services’ hospitals, which amounted to NIS 583 million last year, compared with NIS 575m. in 2015. The authors said Clalit will find it difficult to continue financing similar deficits in the coming years.

Clalit management said state allocations to the health system were not equitable, and that its hospitals’ deficits were at the expense of Clalit members.

Meuhedet director-general Zeev Wurmbrand, meanwhile, said the fund ended 2016 with the lowest deficit among all the health funds at 0.3%, compared with 0.4% for Leumit, 0.6% for Maccabi and 2.1% for Clalit. The deficit without government support to Meuhedet is lower than all the other funds from 2014 through 2016.

State support for Meuhedet, according to Wurmbrand, is NIS 113m. compared with NIS 168m. for Maccabi, NIS 218m. for Leumit and NIS 826m. for Clalit.

The report also revealed that Maccabi Health Services, the second largest of the four funds, increased its membership 3% last year; Meuhedet Health Services, the third largest, rose 2.6%; while Clalit, the largest, declined 1.6% and Leumit, the smallest, dropped 0.8%.

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The rate of copayments for medications and certain services made by members was 5.69% of the whole basket of health services last year, compared to 6.54% in 2015.

The authors of the report suggested a reduction of the normative rate of income that the insurers should finance through copayments. Changes in legislation, various government measures, the addition of services and technologies to the basket of health services and changes in the supplementary health insurance policies of the health funds affect the rate of income from members.

The main changes in the National Health Insurance system in recent years have been mental health reform, in which the health funds took over providing psychiatric services from the Health Ministry; the transfer of responsibility to the health funds of treatment of work-accident victims who, according to the law, are exempt in most cases from copayments; and the addition of expensive drugs (mainly for cancer patients) to the basket.

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