Learn About the Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats in Israel
Israel is a vibrant & prosperous country in the middle east that has lots to offer to expatriates, travelers and global nomads. This includes beautiful beaches, exciting nightlife, and amazing sites and sights, including Tel Aviv. The Old City of Jerusalem boasts of relics and sacred buildings that were home to caliphs and kings of the past centuries. Jesus Christ was born here. No wonder Jerusalem is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites across the world. While the souks and streets of the Old City leave you overwhelmed with the aroma of incense and spices, the cosmopolitan Tel Aviv is a complete contrast with chic cafes, buzzing art galleries, and stretches of the golden coastline.
Travelers planning to visit the country and ex-pats working in the country do not have access to any health benefits under the Israeli healthcare system. However, as per the Israeli Foreign Workers Law, expats can seek private medical insurance from their employers for the entire duration of their employment. To provide medical insurance, the employer may deduct a certain amount from an expat’s monthly remuneration. This monthly premium-of-sorts you pay makes a travel insurance policy worth considering. As an expat, you are also advised to go for comprehensive international health insurance that safeguards your health during your stay in the country. The CDC has information on essential vaccinations expats, and travelers should obtain before departure.
Overview of Healthcare in Israel for Global Citizens
The Health Insurance Law of 1995 forms the basis of the Israeli healthcare system. All citizens have access to basic healthcare facilities. The public and private medical facilities are of high quality. Private hospitals in Israel have more high-end facilities and better equipment in comparison to public hospitals. But while Israel’s system of socialized medicine is designed to serve the citizens, it does not cover tourists and expats, an exclusion that makes it obligatory for them to find a suitable international health insurance policy. While the migrants can avail public healthcare facilities for free for the first twelve months of their stay, this privilege does not extend to foreign residents or expatriates. Therefore, travelers and expats must opt for a comprehensive international health insurance policy.
How the Israeli Healthcare Works for Expats?
Expats must get private health insurance from their employers. Doing so gives expats equivalent benefits as Israeli citizens. However, there’s a limit to the coverage. It does not cover pre-existing conditions. Also, you will find difficulties renewing your policy if you fall ill. But one can always obtain an international insurance policy, which is not from the employing company. Some of them may also cover medical evacuation and repatriation. It ensures expats receiving adequate treatment in times of emergency. The level of medical care in Israel is excellent.
Public Healthcare in Israel
The public healthcare system deals with all essential treatments, including specific surgeries that can be supplemented by additional insurance. Since the mid-1990s, citizens of Israel must receive medical care at one of the four non-profit health organizations that grant them access to the public healthcare system. The state-of-the-art medical technology and research facilities of Israel are one of the best in the world. Whether an expat has a residency in the country and is earning a salary or not affects their access to the Israeli healthcare coverage. Those with some source of income in the country are required to contribute a certain amount towards a health insurance tax, which is a primary source of funding for the public healthcare system of the country.
Private Healthcare in Israel
Despite the accessibility and effectiveness of public healthcare in Israel, it is common to find people who seek private healthcare often. Private healthcare is more convenient as people do not have to wait in long queues. Expats moving to Israel or planning to move here are advised to examine various international health insurance plans. Numerous companies offer tailor-made health insurance plans for individuals, families, and groups. We recommend considering adding emergency medical evacuation. Israeli employers provide insurance coverage to the expats and may, at times, also extend it to their families.
Emergency medical services in Israel
The government has a high-tech fleet of land, sea, and air vehicles deployed for efficient emergency services in Israel. The response time of the ambulance is generally quick. Some private facilities have their speedy ambulance services. Dial 100 to get in touch with the police, 101 for an ambulance, and 102 for the fire brigade.
Medicines and Pharmacies
The high-quality healthcare of the country has made it accessible for medical tourism. Most of the people visiting Israel seeking better quality healthcare belong to Russia and the surrounding Arab countries, which do not have the same standard of medical infrastructure and expertise. Even US citizens visit Israel for significantly cheaper medical procedures. A majority of the pharmacies are situated around metropolitan areas. Most of them remain open during business hours and others till late at night.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Israel
Healthcare facilities offered in Israel are of high standards, but expensive for travelers and expats. Hospitals may take legal action to prevent people from leaving the country until their financial dues are cleared. Visitors, who are injured by ‘acts of hostility,’ are eligible for benefits from the government. However, to avoid unnecessary monetary distress, it is prudent to purchase an international health insurance policy that covers overseas medical evacuation during a serious medical emergency. Cigna Global and Allianz are the most preferred choices for those seeking coverage for their family in Israel. Do compare all available plans before choosing the best insurance plan and provider.