nitzan horowitz 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Private health insurance companies are accumulating “a fortune” from selling
policies to the employers of foreign workers, charges Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz,
who demands that the government allow the four public health funds to insure
In a tempestuous Monday meeting of the Knesset Committee on Foreign
Workers – which Horowitz chairs – he charged that the private companies are
profiteering from medical coverage for the foreigners.
research and information center said the companies collected last year
approximately NIS 140 million, but paid out only about half for their medical
The center also found that charges for insuring the foreign
workers were 30 percent higher than what is customary in the insurance
The private insurers make large profits because most of the
foreign workers are relatively young and healthy and do not need frequent visits
to clinic doctors and hospitals. But when they do get sick or injured, the
foreign workers encounter difficulties – including reams of red tape – in
getting care through the insurance companies, Horowitz charged.
addition, he said, it is difficult for the foreigners to access care because
their language is often not understood and the companies do not always provide
what they deserve. Not only laborers are harmed, but also their employers who
pay for the insurance, the public health funds and the Treasury.
public health funds, said Horowitz, will not provide charity but make a profit
from giving them the same basic care as Israelis. The health funds will increase
their income and contribute to a significant reduction in “lost debts” for their
uncompensated payments for treating the workers, according to the Meretz
Representatives of the Health, Finance and Justice Ministries
commented that in the coming weeks, an inter-ministry committee set up to look
into the problem will present its recommendations to the
Horowitz countered, however, that this committee has been
meeting for “several years and has not yet published its
The Knesset committee, he concluded, will continue to
follow up the issue to make sure that the current situation is rectified.