(photo credit: courtesy)
The Health Ministry has ordered the four public health funds to halt “improper
marketing tactics.” These activities include supplying their members’ details to
commercial firms who paid for their lists and giving special VIP service to
members who have shown interest in moving to another insurer.
directive sent Wednesday to the health fund directors- general, Rachel Topper
Haver-Tov – the ministry’s deputy director-general in charge of health fund
supervision – said they had no right to do this. Supplying addresses to third
parties is forbidden and violates existing privacy rules, she said.
ministry has recently received complaints from residents who received various
commercial offers they didn’t request. Some came even from other health funds
who indirectly purchased addresses from their own health insurers.
health funds receive financing from health taxes and the state, they have no
right to supply such data to commercial interests, Topper Haver-Tov said. The
health funds must not send emails, text messages and personal letters for
marketing to their members, she continued.
In addition, some health funds
who fear their members will switch to another provider have set up VIP services
to appease them and reduce red tape. This is illegal marketing, said the
ministry official. All members should enjoy faster service and not only those
who threaten to switch, she said.