Starting February, sick and injured people taken in a Magen David Adom ambulance to a hospital, as well as relatives of those deceased whose bodies have been taken away, will not have to pay MDA directly for the service. Instead, their health fund will pay the ambulance service, sparing them all of financial worries and red tape at a very stressful time.
This was decided on Wednesday at a meeting of the Knesset Public Complaints Committee attended by officials from MDA, the Health Ministry, health funds and consumer organizations. At present, individuals in physical or emotional pain and agony are asked by MDA medics to pay cash or present a credit card.
In many cases, elderly people and new immigrants pay when reaching the hospital and are unaware of the fact that they are entitled to reimbursement of hundreds and even thousands of shekels by the health fund. After the amendment comes into effect, the recipient of the service will receive a bill for payment that he received from MDA and present it to his health fund. The payment will be made directly and fully for the injured, families of the deceased and people who feel unwell and are hospitalized. Those who received treatment in the emergency room will receive partial payment by their health fund and have to pay the rest.
If the bill is not presented to the health fund within 60 days of the ambulance service, the person will have to pay it himself and ask for reimbursement by his health insurer.
MDA said that it had never refused to transport patients needing medical care if not paid first, and that patients should not hesitate to call an ambulance out of fear that they can't afford it. There is no doubt, however, that the new arrangement will ease the situation for MDA customers, MDA said.