Public generally satisfied with its health coverage

Ministry issues report to mark 20 years since National Health Insurance Law

A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The share in the population of the four health funds has changed since the National Health Insurance Law went into effect on January 1, 1995, a Health Ministry statistical report released for publication on Wednesday shows. Clalit Health Services shifted from 63 percent then to 53% today; Maccabi Health Services from 19% to 25%; Meuhedet from 9% to 14%; and Leumit held steady at 9%.
Twenty years ago, 5.2 million people were insured, and this figure has risen to 8.1 million today.
The report was released to mark the 20th anniversary of the National Health Insurance Law and was actually issued 20 years and five months after the law – passed in 1994 – went into effect. The 67-page document was produced by Nir Kedar and Rani Plotnick of the ministry’s strategic and economic planning administration.
Only 1.7% of health fund members switched to another fund last year, the report notes.
Before 1995, of those who were members of a health fund (it was not mandatory, unlike today), 83% were satisfied or very satisfied with health services, while today that has risen to 91%, according to JDC-Brookdale-Myers surveys.
Israeli residents (citizens and non-citizens alike) are generally satisfied with their insurer, surveys have shown. However, the health services, hospitals and health funds regularly report large deficits.
Clalit gained 7,000 members in the last year, while about 1,000 left Maccabi and Leumit, respectively, and 4,500 left Meuhedet, according to the report. Maccabi has a 46% share in the Tel Aviv district, while Clalit has the most members in all other districts. Clalit has relatively fewer members in the Judea and Samaria district, where Leumit and Meuhedet are relatively stronger. Meuhedet is strongest in Jerusalem, where the health fund was established decades ago.
Maccabi, as in 1995, has members with the highest average income (four times that of the national average in 2012, followed by Meuhedet, Clalit and Leumit in terms of higher incomes.
Seventy-five percent of the public bought supplementary health insurance coverage from the four health funds in 2013. Of Clalit members, 70.3% have supplementary policies, while in Maccabi it is 88.1%, Meuhedet 70.3% and 68.4% in Leumit.
Premiums for commercial geriatric nursing insurance rose between 2010 and 2013 by 54%, according to the report, and these cost NIS 3 billion a year.
Fifty-three percent of the cost of the basket of health services are financed by health taxes (collected from salaries via the National Insurance Institute and transferred monthly to the four health funds), while 41% is covered by the state budget.
The rest comes from members’ copayments for drugs, equipment and services. During the last two years, there has been a small increase in state subsidies of health services in the basket.
In 2013, the average monthly (excluding health taxes) household expenditure on health was NIS 827, with about a quarter spent on dental services.
There was a rise of the cost of (public) supplementary and private health insurance from 34.6% of the NIS 827 a month to 35.8%.