IDF starts outsourcing non-combat soldiers’ healthcare

Soldiers will not have copayments, health basket to be larger; dental, psychiatric treatment to remain within IDF.

IDF troops 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IDF troops 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The IDF on Sunday launched the beginning of a process to outsource medical treatment for non-combat soldiers through two of the four health funds.
In a year, the other two public insurers will join and each soldier will be able to choose his/her own health fund.
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In a teleconference with health reporters, OC Medical Corps Brig.-Gen. Dr. Nahman Ash said the aim is to make military medical care – except for dental and psychiatric treatment, which will remain within the IDF – more efficient and accessible.
Under a public tender issued a year ago, soldiers in Tel Aviv’s Kirya complex are being automatically assigned to Kupat Holim Meuhedet and those in the Tel Hashomer complex to Kupat Holim Leumit.
At the beginning of 2012, Maccabi Health Services and Clalit Health Services will be added, and all soldiers will be able to join the health fund of his/her choice. Draftees as well as those in the professional military are covered, but not the civilian members of their families.
The soldiers will not go to special clinics but those used by the public at large, as well as private clinics run by medical specialists working with a health fund.
They will not automatically be jumped to the head of the queue because they are soldiers, but they will not make copayments required of civilians, and the IDF basket of health will be somewhat broader than the civilian basket, said Ash. Soldiers will also be entitled to go to health fund urgent-care clinics at no cost during off-hours.
Soldiers at the two bases have already received their health funds’ magnetic cards.
The IDF is paying the health funds on a per capita basis and will receive reports from the insurer only regarding unusual disorders and infectious diseases that could affect their peers.
The Medical Corps established two bodies to communicate with the health funds, including one that will help decide if soldiers need to be exempt from certain assignments in the military because of their condition.
After the first year ends, the IDF will analyze the results to make sure the program is working well. Ash said attention has been paid to the possibility of health funds aggressively marketing to soldiers from 2012, and steps will be taken to prevent illegal acts such as giving presents or money for switching healthcare providers.