EMA Care Blog

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Why Do Gap Year Students Need EMA Care?

People have been asking “why do gap year students need EMA Care??” The answer is: Student health plans do not cover essential health needs that parents want for their child.  EMA Care provides those services and fills in the gaps left by local insurance programs. 

Each year thousands of students come to Israel to work, study, and have fun!  After high school, it has become a rite of passage for Jewish youth from all over the world to spend 1-12 months in Israel.  The programs are varied from yeshiva/seminary or university study to volunteering in the Negev desert.

These varied programs have three things in common:

    • Some participants are arriving with pre-existing medical conditions
    • Some participants will get sick or injured while they are in Israel
    • There are no medical professionals on the program’s staff

Although, most students have local health insurance, insurance pays only for doctor and hospital visits. There is no follow up, supervision, or hand-holding in what can be a frightening experience for an 18 year old.  Moreover, most healthcare providers do not have the time to give proper instructions, speak to parents or administrators, or even give advice on preventing complications.  Add in a new language and medical culture, and things can get complicated even for simple seasonal illnesses (like flu) or minor acute problems (like a sprained ankle).  Unlike the U.S., community physicians in Israel are not “on call” and students have no access to Israeli HMO help lines.

Students are often left on their own to attend appointments, get medication, and even go to urgent care centers or emergency rooms.  Some schools will send an attendant or ask a fellow student to attend, but in nearly all cases, these attendants have little to no medical training, sometimes do not speak Hebrew fluently, and do not know how to navigate the Israeli health care system

EMA Care fills these gaps by providing:

    • Case management of chronic health conditions (which are not covered by typical student insurance plans)
    • Advocacy and hand-holding for student with urgent health issues (physician, urgent care center, ER)
    • Communication liaison between student, parents, school, and health care providers
    • On duty professional for tele-health evaluations, referrals, and information
    • Referrals to the best English-speaking physicians and specialists in Israel

Last year a young man had an infected tooth and a dental procedure.  The dentist prescribed a course of antibiotic treatment.    Once he was no longer in pain, he forgot to take his medicine. He predictably became seriously ill and was hospitalized. He was very sick, in pain, confused and in shock.  His family was angry about the “poor care” their son received. All he wanted to do was go home. And he did.  He did not finish his program or have the Israeli experience he had been dreaming about.

If only EMA Care had been called to assist in his case management and recovery!

EMA Care is not an insurance company, we are an assurance company - assuring that top care, effective communication, and advocacy is provided when a gap year student is in medical need.

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


052-639-8444    info@healthcareisrael.com 


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