Socialized medicine in Israel = Self Serve Health care


How does socialized medicine work in Israel? How does it impact health care delivery? Every resident of Israel must have government-subsidized health care guaranteed to them by Israel’s Health Insurance Law of 1995.  How does this differ from private health care found in other countries?

A 2015 Bloomberg report ranked Israel as tied for second place in health care efficiency!!  The United States ranks 50th (right above Azerbaijan, Algeria, Russia, and Brazil)!   Israel is credited with long life expectancy, emphasis on preventative care, and low-cost medical care.  This means you get better health care in Israel for a lot less money than it costs in the US. Therein lays the crux of the matter:  Israeli health care is cost-effective! How?

Socialized medicine depends on patients doing much of the footwork, paperwork, and preventative care themselves 

Most people are not medical professionals. Many people, especially immigrants or Olim, get overwhelmed in the bureaucracy because of cultural differences between health delivery in Israel and their country of origin.  This causes confusion and frustration. 

Socialized medicine = self-service health care!  

It is not fancy.  It is not a finely streamed system.  It is bureaucratic, burdensome, and time-consuming.  One-stop medical offices are uncommon.  Getting good care is a multi-step process that requires due diligence, patience...  and a lot of running around.

Self-service health care means patients must figure out what they need to do to stay healthy. That means asking the right questions, going to the right office, getting the bureaucracy taken care of so the physicians can do their job of taking care of you.

Managing medications is complex, and lots of expensive medication requires special authorizations and approvals. An  MRI test (also expensive) requires approval from a national committee that meets on certain days of the month!

    • For example, A patient needs surgery.  There are tests and paperwork which need to be taken care of. This cannot do through the surgeon's office.  The doctor gives the patient a lot of forms...  Now the patient has to return to the health fund office (the “kupah”) to get the lab work done and submit the form requesting the surgery. 
    • Once the surgery is approved, the approval must be faxed to the surgeon’s office (yes, Israel still heavily relies on fax technology circa 1980)!  Sometimes the kupah will fax it; sometimes, it will not.  It is the patient’s responsibility to make sure the surgeon’s office receives the proper paperwork (that requires phone calls and patience). 
    • Then the patient waits for the office to call with the date of the surgery (if they don’t, the patient needs to call them). 
    • On the day of the surgery, the patient must bring all test results, payment guarantees, and authorizations to the doctor. If not, doctors will postpone the surgery.

Somehow... socialized medicine in Israel works.  

The good news is - excellent care is available.  We have the finest doctors.  We have world-renowned hospitals. The key is understanding how the system works and how to maneuver within the system.

At EMA Care, we have the knowledge, experience, and know-how to make Israel’s socialized health care system work for you!  EMA Care will help streamline the system for you so you can concentrate on your real job... getting better!

EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and patient advocacy services to tourists, students, and Israel residents. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.


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