Monday, December 31, 2012

Israel's National Health System, Great!

Of course nothing is perfect, but in all honesty, I must say that the Israeli health system is one of the best.  Whenever I talk to people who live in the United States about what goes on there, I'm so grateful that my husband and I live here in Israel.

Whether employed full-time, part-time or not at all, Israelis get to choose which of a handful or so "Sick Funds" to join.  New immigrants are automatically accepted, no matter what their age or health status.  When I had brought my very elderly father here three and a half years ago, I had no problem integrating him into the local clinic of the Clallit Sick Fund.  The doctor and nurse invested time to discover which Israeli medicines matched those American ones he had been taking.  In some cases the Israeli equivalents seemed much better.  We paid extra so he'd be covered for more than the minimum, which came in handy when he needed new hearing aids, which we purchased at a discount.

Not long ago, when the doctor prescribed acupuncture for my shoulder injury, it was discounted by the Kupat Cholim Le'umit sick fund, because we pay for the "gold" level.  Various "over the counter" drugs are discounted for us, too, in the sick fund pharmacies.

The Nefesh B'Nefesh site has a good summary of Israeli health care.
Every resident can choose one of the four health plans (Clalit, Leumit, Maccabi and Meuhedet) regardless of age or health state. The plans provide an identical basic basket of services, as required by law, but availability of services may differ by location. These include doctor visits, diagnostic and laboratory services, hospitalization including births and discounts on prescription medications. Note that not every type of service, treatment or prescription is available in the basket. It is possible to purchase supplementary insurance (Bituach Mashlim) from your health plan in order to receive wider coverage. Differences between the plans may exist in these supplementary insurances. See Kupot Cholim (Health Plans).  (complete article)

The government makes changes annually.  Here is the latest:
The Cabinet today (Sunday, 30 December 2012), unanimously approved an approximately NIS 300 million expansion of the health basket, pursuant to the proposal of Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman. The expansion will take effect at the beginning of next month.
The 2013 health basket was formulated by the Public Committee on the expansion of the Health Basket chaired by Shaare Zedek Medical Center Prof. Jonathan Halevy.
The 2013 health basket will focus on preventive care: For the first time, over 50,000 8th-grade girls will be inoculated against cervical cancer. Innovative drugs for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer will be added including Afinitor, Perjeta and Avastin, as well as an innovative drug for treating prostate cancer, Zytiga. The basket will also include nuchal translucency testing and advanced pregnancy tests for various genetic diseases.
Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser
Of course, there are sometimes difficulties like in any bureaucracy, but that is the same for the entire world.  Nothing is perfect.  My sister's reports on the challenges she faces taking care of our parents' medical needs in the United States are horrifying.  The medical needs of the elderly make for very complicated decisions.

Obamacare may have solved some problems, but certainly not all.


Miriam said...

Batya, I couldn't agree with you more. Our health care [Clalit] is excellent. My husband is a heart patient and I'm a diabetic and we get to knoch care.

No complaining from our house....


Yocheved Golani said...

Your sister and parents seem to need a problem-solving, cost-cutting book that medical and mental health professionals recommend

Batya said...

Miriam, thanks
Yocheved, I'll pass it on, thanks

Shy Guy said...

I find it's OK ...

...until something serious is needed.

Then much depends on either how backlogged the system is or how much you're willing to pay to go Sharap (private).

Francine Root-Adler said...

Y'all, I have been in this wonderful country for 7 months. I have a new hip! I am so grateful. Is the system perfect, but so much better than anything I've had for years. In the US I was not able to afford healthcare. In MD which has a state insurance similar to Obama care
I made $200 too much to qualify for the insurance my clients were getting. I was being seen in a sliding scale clinic. after I married (my husband has NEVER paid any of my healthcare)my payment doubled. before I left I was paying full price. I had aa hip problem for 2 years. I was being given pain medication (I refused opiates)and something to relieve leg pain and help with sleep.Yes, I was grateful to be able to sleep. The reason nothing else was done was that my right had not been x-rayed at all.
I'm here less that a year, I have a new hip with in-home services oh and I had a new crown put on a tooth that broke during the yomim tovim. In the states I would never have been able to afford the hip surgery without being in debt for the rest of my life and the crown...oh well that would have been less than secondary to worry about.
I really feel I can be healthier here-I already am. I hope to be able to help others going through the transition to Israel's health care system. Others helped me otherwise I couldn't have been so successful.Oh I have Maccabi gold

Batya said...

Shy, compared to most places, we have a better system.
Francine, wonderful, thanks for sharing.