(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
For the first time in many years, Kupat Holim Meuhedet – which last year was
harshly criticized by the state comptroller for alleged corruption and
mismanagement – lost 1,400 members in the past two months.
Ministry deputy director-general Dr. Yoel Lipschitz, who supervises the health
funds, said the reasons for the net loss in membership by the third-largest
public health insurer were not studied, but this was a new trend for Meuhedet,
which has been plagued by very bad headlines in recent months.
to another fund could be due to anger by members after revelations of alleged
wrongdoing and/or fear that the shakeup would reduce the quality of
The health fund’s directorgeneral Shmuel Muallem was forced to
resign after 42 years of working there in various capacities, and numerous other
senior executives were dismissed due to the state comptroller’s harsh criticism
and the activist stance of ministry director-general Dr. Ronni Gamzu and
The comptroller said that although Meuhedet was well run and
members were largely satisfied, corruption thrived in the higher echelons. They
went on unnecessary trips abroad; haredim (who seek out cheaper and fewer
services) were given gifts for switching from another fund to Meuhedet; and the
chief pharmacist ran his private pharmacy with Meuhedet staffers while
preventing a health fund pharmacy to open in the neighborhood, among other
things. The health fund board chairman is temporarily running the organization,
but an outside and professional director-general is being sought as the police
investigate accusations raised by the report.
A total of 4,103 members
left Meuhedet in the past two months, while only 2,698 joined. A total of 17,334
Israeli residents joined one of the four health funds during that period. Clalit
Health Services, the largest insurer, gained 6,932 members and lost 5,328;
Maccabi Health Services gained 5,219 and lost 2,700; and Leumit gained 2,485 and
lost 5,203. Leumit and Clalit have had a record for years of losing members
compared to the other insurers; they also have relatively more older members
than Maccabi and Meuhedet.
Out of a total health fund membership of
7,531,999 (all residents are entitled), Clalit has 3,955,939 (52.5 percent);
Maccabi 1,864,299 (24.8%); Meuhedet 1,022,181 (13.6%); and Leumit 689,580
Their share of health taxes is calculated according to a key that
take age, sex and place of residence into account.