Health funds end 2011 with NIS 1.259 billion deficit

As a result of deficits, the 4 major funds have delayed payments to suppliers and taken out bank loans to keep functioning.

Hospital beds 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Hospital beds 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The four public health funds ended 2011 with a NIS 1.259 billion deficit, the Health Ministry reported on Sunday.
The main reason given for the red ink was the fact that the insurers did not sign “stability agreements” with the government covering 2011 to 2013; such agreements require the health funds to increase efficiency in return for allocations. Such agreements are usually signed every three years.
Delays in signing agreements also resulted from health fund lawsuits against the government regarding the per diem rate hospitals charge for treating their members.
As a result of the deficits, the health funds have had to postpone payments to suppliers and take out bank loans to keep functioning.
Clalit Health Services, the largest health insurer, had a NIS 510 million deficit (including in its hospitals) in 2011; Maccabi Health Services, the second largest, had a NIS 332m. deficit; Kupat Holim Meuhedet had a NIS 227m. deficit; and Kupat Holim Leumit’s deficit in 2011 was NIS 150m.
These figures compare to the 2010 deficits of Clalit, NIS 123m.; Maccabi, NIS 94m.; Meuhedet, NIS 14m.; and Leumit, NIS 116m.
Lior Barak, accountant of the ministry’s department for supervising the health funds and outside accountant Dafna Barzilai – who predicted that by the end of 2012, the health funds would be in even deeper deficit, provided the calculations.
The basket of health services that the four health funds must provide to their members totaled NIS 32.67 billion in 2011, compared to NIS 30.33b. in the previous year. Aside from heath taxes provided through the National Insurance Institute, the insurers financed an average of 6.45 percent of their budgets through co-payments for medications, medical equipment, visits to medical specialists, outpatient clinics and diagnostic institutes, as well as from supplementary health insurance.