For the first time in several years, Maccabi Health Services and Kupat Holim Meuhedet – the second and third-largest health funds – ended 2010 in deficits. Maccabi lost NIS 94 million and Meuhedet lost NIS 14 million.Clalit Health Services, which is the country’s largest health fund and serves a little over half of the population, had a 34 percent smaller deficit last year, which totaled NIS 123 million instead of NIS 185 million in 2009. These figures were supplied for publication on Sunday by the Health Ministry in its annual report on the health funds’ finances.Leumit, which is the smallest of the four public health insurers and is usually in financial trouble, was the only one with a surplus – NIS 35 million – in 2010. However, according to the report published by the ministry’s branch that supervises the health funds, Leumit has a “net accumulated deficit in properties of NIS 779 million,” which causes “a problem with its financial stability.”The report said that reports on the first quarter of 2011 show that the deficits continued in the health funds then as well, and that the whole year of 2011 is likely to show red ink at all four.Hospitalization costs rose by 6% in 2010, while wages went up by 5%. Costs of services purchased from private labs and institutes also raised costs. With a reduction in maintenance and development costs, there was a 4.1% increase in the community clinic costs of the health funds. The costs of medications did not change significantly.Wages cost the least at Clalit when measured according to the number of members, while those in Maccabi were highest. Expenses per health fund member were highest at Leumit, at NIS 4,400.The total of health expenditures by the funds in 2010 rose to NIS 30.333 billion compared to NIS 28.141 billion in the previous year. The health funds received 8.4% of their income from copayments from members for medications and medical equipment. Other copayments rose 5.6% in Meuhedet, 5.6% in Clalit and 2.6% at Leumit but only 1.5% at Maccabi, which is the only insurer to charge once a quarter for visiting one’s family physician. It earned NIS 26 million just from this charge of NIS 20. The other health funds charge only for the first visit per quarter to a specialist.The report, which can be viewed in Hebrew at the ministry’s website (www.health.gov.il), is meant to help relevant officials make decisions.