Labor and Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz submitted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “his outline” for providing mandatory public geriatric-nursing insurance to all citizens, despite Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman having pushed such an idea for years.
Katz said the background for his proposal was the recent decision by Dorit Salinger – the Finance Ministry’s official in charge of the capital market and insurance – to cancel the group’s long-term-care private insurance policies, which are held by a million citizens.
Katz said: “In the field of geriatric nursing care, there is a serious and long-term failure: Nursing is not included in the health basket available to all Israelis, and responsibility for the care of the nursing patient rests with his family.
This is a very heavy economic burden on the families. The State of Israel must take responsibility and build a supportive system to help solve this financial burden.
There are some 3.5 million citizens who are not insured by any long-term care insurance, even that offered optionally by their health fund.”
Katz recommended that the existing geriatric nursing insurance offered by the four public health funds, through which four million citizens are already insured, become the basis for state nursing insurance. Every member of a health fund, he suggested, should have the right to join long-term care insurance of the type currently existing in the fund in which he is a member – even if the insurance company or health fund refuses to insure him due to age, condition of health or any other reason. Thus, every resident would be required to purchase long-term care insurance.
In addition, said Katz, the geriatric- nursing-care insurance premium would be based on a social structure and age group, as it is currently, instead of having premiums based on individual risk.
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In addition to the insurance premium to be paid by policyholders, the health tax paid by all Israelis would be raised by between 0.5% and 0.7% and collected by the National Insurance Institute. The poor, who would be exempt from this payment would, in essence, get their coverage offset by those who can afford to pay. The fee would be identical in all four health funds, and insurance coverage and rates would be under state supervision, said Katz.
Asked to comment, Litzman’s office said he “congratulated the welfare minister for his awareness of the need to address the longterm care situation of the elderly in Israel and his joining the Health Ministry’s demand for the implementation of state reform in geriatric nursing insurance.”