Health funds expand top-up plans as deficit grows

Even as Israel health funds chalked up a cumulative deficit of NIS 2 billion, their supplementary insurance plans expanded in 2012 to NIS 3.52 billion.

Even as Israel health funds chalk up a cumulative deficit of NIS 2 billion, they are continuing to expand their supplementary insurance plan are growing at the public expense. The Ministry of Health's annual report on supplementary insurance states that payments rose by 12% in 2012 to NIS 3.52 billion, and that the growth rate will accelerate in 2013, after the health funds added a new and more expensive layer of supplementary insurance, such as Maccabi Healthcare Services' Maccabi Sheli (My Maccabi).

The growth in revenue from supplementary insurance is due to the increase in policyholders, as well as the increase in policyholders for the more expensive plans, such as Clalit Health Services' Platinum plan (8.3% growth), and Meuhedet Health Services' See plan (Peak) (11.5% growth).

The number of Israelis with supplementary insurance plans rose by 2.1 percentage points in 2012 to 73.5%. The growth rate has been steady since 2009. As with any statistical report, the averages conceal wide variability between populations. For example, 62% of pensioners have supplementary insurance plans, and only 40% of non-Jews have them.

The biggest expenditure in supplementary insurance plans is on surgeons, a service which can only be exercised at a private hospital. This expense totaled a net NIS 1.2 billion in 2012, 42% of the total net expenditure of policyholders. Sources believe that if the government will allow public hospitals to offer services under supplementary insurance and private insurance policies through a return to private medicine, the health funds will have to sharply raise policies' monthly premiums. The committee chaired by Minister of Health Yael German has been discussing ways to strengthen public healthcare for months.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 27, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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