Health Care System in Israel
The National Health Law guarantees equal basic medical care to all residents of Israel regardless of their age and medical condition. There are four Health Funds (Kupot Cholim)* that provide an equivalent range of medical services. Each Israeli chooses to register with the fund of his choice. Supplementary insurance plans are offered for an additional fee paid directly to your Health Fund for medical services or discounts not included in the basic health services package.
A monthly “health tax” (mas bruit), paid directly to Bituach Leumi, the National Insurance Institute, covers the basic medical services.
New Immigrants (olim chadashim): The oleh may register for one of the health funds at the airport free of charge or at a post office, later on, for a small registration fee. If the oleh opts to register at the post office instead of the airport, he must request a medical insurance voucher at the airport from the immigration officials who welcome him. He then brings the voucher and his immigrant booklet, the Teudat Oleh, to the post office and tells the clerk which fund he wishes to join. For those changing status in Israel, they need to go to the local Absorption Ministry office to obtain a Teudat Oleh and the medical insurance voucher.
Olim receive free health insurance for 12 months if they are not working or if their income is very low. This also applies to Ezrachim Olim and K’tinim Chozrim. If you are employed, the health tax will automatically be deducted through your place of employment. Once the 12 months are up, a man or unmarried woman must make arrangements to pay the health tax to Bituach Leumi even if he or she is not working. However, if a married woman is not working, she does not have to pay.
Couples & Children: Each spouse may register with a different Fund. Children under 18 are registered with the Health Fund of the mother, barring special circumstances.
Salaried Workers: The health tax is deducted automatically from an employee’s salary.
Self-Employed: The self-employed must coordinate payments through Bituach Leumi.
Students & Yeshiva Students: Students must coordinate payments through Bituach Leumi. Unemployed wives and children of yeshiva students do not have to pay.
Retirees: Retirees receiving Bituach Leumi allowances have their health tax deducted from the allowance. Seniors who do NOT receive a Bituach Leumi allowance must arrange payment for their health tax at the Gviya (Payment) Department at their local Bituach Leumi office. Arrangements can be made with Bituach Leumi to set up a standing order (hora'at keva) at your bank, to simplify the payment procedure.
Returning Residents: Please see the AACI Information Sheet on Returning Residents.
Transferring to Another Health Fund: Anyone registered with a Health Fund may transfer to another Fund up to 2 times in a twelve month period. Transfer requests may be submitted any time, but take effect only 1½ to 3½ months later on specific dates 6 times a year. Until the date for all transfers of a particular period take effect, the member remains the responsibility of his current Fund. Transfers must be done at the Post Office for a small fee or online on the Bituach Leumi payments site (in Hebrew).