Eye doctor examines patient 370.
(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Even though 83 percent of Israelis buy supplementary health insurance from their
public health funds and 42% have commercial health insurance policies, only half
of them feel secure they will get all the medical treatment they need if they
become seriously ill.
This is one of the findings of the ninth poll of
Jerusalem’s Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute on public satisfaction with service and
functioning of the health system.
Results of the poll, conducted by Dr.
Shuli Brammli- Greenberg and Tamar Medina-Hartom, have been published since
1995. The level of security felt by Israelis that they will get everything
they’re entitled to if seriously ill is the lowest among 11 countries included
in the Commonwealth Fund study that asked this question in
Brammli-Greenberg and Medina-Hartom put extra focus this year on
frequent users of the health system due to serious illness and found that they
encounter more problems of accessibility to medical treatment and of financing
However, in general, there has not been any change in the
high level of satisfaction with their health funds, which reached 91% last year
compared to 90% in the previous year.
Satisfaction with Maccabi Health
Services, the second-largest health fund, was the highest at 95%, compared to 91%
for Kupat Holim Meuhedet (the third largest) and Kupat Holim Leumit (fourth
largest), and 90% for Clalit Health Services, the largest of the four that
insures half the population.
The most popular medical staffers according
to patients is the personal physician (51%) followed by nurses (42%) and clerks
Six percent of those polled said they had to forgo medical
treatment (not including dental care and medications) because they couldn’t
afford it, while 9% didn’t purchase medicines they were prescribed because they
lacked the money. There were other reasons for not getting medical care they
needed: These included distance and waiting times.
Among the reasons
other than money for not taking medication were that patients thought they
“didn’t need them” or did not have confidence in the doctor who prescribed
The rate of Israelis who purchased commercial health insurance rose
significantly from 35% in 2009 to 42% last year. The rate of those who have
supplementary health insurance policies from their public health fund rose from
81% in 2009 to 83% in 2012.
The figure among young people was 82%, while
85% of the elderly held supplementary health insurance.
Most of the
people with extra health insurance said they did not make use of the policies in
the past two years.
Forty-one percent of Israelis said they were “regular
recipients of medical care.”
About a fifth of those polled said their
medical condition was below average in recent years, while 18% were hospitalized
since 2010 and 16% received treatment for chronic illness, injury or disability
during the past year. Fifteen percent underwent operations in the past two
Members of Clalit and Leumit were more likely (44% and 42%,
respectively) to be regular users of medical care, compared to 38% in Maccabi
and 36% in Meuhedet.
Frequent patients reported more difficulty than
others in getting medical care at night.
The researchers interviewed a
representative sample of 2,330 people aged 22 and up in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian