To mark the addition of a Guide to Israeli Health Insurance to its website, the Israel Consumer Council and Geocartographia conducted a survey, the results of which raise concerns about the public’s level of knowledge of the rights to which they are entitled when it comes to medical insurance cover.
The Guide, assemble in cooperation with YDB Consulting Ltd., is designed to provide consumers with practical tools that will help them maximize their rights to health services, while helping them avoid duplicate insurance.
The survey indicates that, although 75% of the public have supplementary medical insurances, which offer services above the basic “basket” of services, the field as a whole suffers from a lack of clarity, which in turn prevents consumers from choosing medical services wisely.
The survey shows that about 20% of consumers do not purchase private health insurance because the price is too high for them. Here, comprehensive information about the treatments to which they are entitled, as part of their basic membership in the health funds (Kupot Cholim), may provide a response to their needs.
40% of consumers referred by the health funds for medical treatment at their own expense do not check whether those treatments might be covered by one of the medical insurance policies that they hold.
The survey also showed that a majority of consumers do not know where they can check their rights, and are not aware of possible alternatives. This is significant, since the costs of private medical treatment are high, running into the thousands of shekels.
At the same time, the public has a definite idea of those components that they would like to see included in medical insurance. 51% would like life-saving medications to be included, 44% would like insurance cover for operations carried out overseas, 35% would like to be able to choose their own surgeon, 31% are interested in shortening waiting times for tests, treatments and surgery, and 21% want to be able to obtain a second opinion.
CEO of the Israel Consumer Council, Adv. Ehud Peleg, says that protecting consumers’ rights also requires a measure of self-protection, based on the consumers’ own knowledge and awareness of their rights. The medical insurance field offers consumers three levels of insurance cover, and before paying for costly medical services, it is worth checking whether those services are available under existing medical cover. The Guide to Israeli Health Insurance on the Council’s site will help consumers claim their rights from the health funds and insurance companies.