A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The supplementary health insurance policies of the four public health funds – used mostly to undergo elective surgery, choose a surgeon and get a second opinion – took in NIS 3.841 billion in 2013 – a nine percent increase over 2012.
The average annual fee taken from each member by Clalit Health Services was NIS 641; NIS 700 by Maccabi, NIS 618 by Meuhedet and NIS 642 by Leumit.
This is in addition to monthly taxes collected by the National Health Insurance and distributed among the four insurers.
According to the report issued by Health Ministry official Revital Topper-Haver Tov, who supervises the health funds, it was only the second time in the last decade (and the first since 2009) that the rate of joining the lower-tier supplementary program was lower than the growth rate of the population; which indicates that more people lack the out-of-pocket money for such medical coverage.
The health funds made a total profit of NIS 31 million in 2013, a decrease from NIS 68m. during the previous year. According to the National Health Insurance law, the insurers’ supplementary health insurance schemes must have an annual balanced budget. Any surplus must be returned to their supplementary health insurance programs and be used either to lower premiums or expand services.
A total of 5.9 million Israelis – 73.4% or 1.7% more than in 2012 – are covered by their health funds’ supplementary insurance schemes. The rest are mostly too poor to afford them, but the figure also includes the rich who prefer private health insurance instead.
The report says that only 30% of children whose families receive income supplements due to low income have supplemental coverage, compared to 73% of children aged 0 to 18 in the general population.
Just 39% of non-Jews (mostly Arabs) have such policies, almost half of the Jewish rate.
Overhead costs for marketing, management and operations totaled 12% in Clalit, 13% in Maccabi, 19% in Meuhedet and 26% in Leumit. Members of supplementary insurance policies in Jerusalem were most likely to use their coverage for choosing their own surgeon and getting a second opinion – a use that was lowest in the northern district.