Sharp rise in additional, private health insurance costs

The cost of health insurance, both private and public, hits 2% mark of household income for the first time; health minister hopes government will take action to restrict it.

By
November 23, 2014 16:38
2 minute read.
Former health minister Yael German

Former health minister Yael German. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The cost per household for supplementary health insurance from one’s public health fund and for commercial (private) health insurance increased significantly – by 8.5 percent – in 2013, compared to only 4% in 2012.

This is a likely sign that public insurance coverage is not regarded by citizens as enough and that accessibility to care from the public health funds and hospitals is declining.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The data, from a Health Ministry report issued on Sunday, induced Health Minister Yael German – who is currently struggling in the cabinet against growing privatization in healthcare – to say: “Again, we see a sharp and unjustified rise in household expenses on healthcare. This expenditure is directly tied to the increase in operations in the private sector and feeds it.”

German continued that only integrative treatment by the authorities will be able to restrict the rise in operations in private medical institutions.

“Passing our proposed reform in health insurance will bring about a reduction in the cost-ofhealth index of Israeli families and with it the cost-of-living index,” she said.

The health minister said it was urgent to pass the Treasury’s Arrangements Bill, which would tax private medical care and limit the uncontrolled growth in the use of private medical insurance.

Dr. Leonid Eidelman, chairman of the Israel Medical Association, added his comments on German’s statement.



“There is a reason for the rise in household costs for health insurance that the health minister does not disclose, but we all know what it is – the lengthening in queues for surgery in the public hospitals. One can wait for months or even years for an [elective] operation, so patients go to private hospitals.”

Eidelman added that “the rate of hospital beds per population has dropped by 3% in the last five years. It is the lowest in the Western world. So what is the surprise that household costs for health insurance are rising? It seems that private medicine is growing and [so the government] finds a method for reducing it – [by] setting quotas for surgery in the private hospitals.

Then fewer patients will go to private hospitals, and the queue for surgery in the public hospitals will increase. And [thus] the suffering will lengthen. That is the ‘solution’ of the government,” Eidelman said with irony.

The IMA chairman demanded that instead, the Treasury must increase allocations for public medical institutions.

The official report said that the real cost of commercial and supplementary health insurance totaled NIS 800 million in 2013 – more than in 2012. In 2013, the average percentage of household income spent on dental care and medications was the same as in 1997. The share spent on eyeglasses and contact lenses even went down between 1997 and 2013 – from 0.3% to 0.4% of household income.

Related Content

August 15, 2018
Security expert: Crackdown on left-wing groups could foment extremism

By MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE