The National Health Law guarantees equal basic medical care to all residents of Israel regardless of their age and medical condition. There are four Health Funds (Kupot Cholim) that provide an equivalent range of medical services. Each Israeli chooses to register with the fund of his/her choice. Supplementary insurance plans are offered for an additional fee paid directly to the Health Fund for medical services or discounts not included in the basic health services package.
A monthly health insurance payment is paid directly to Bituach Leumi, the National Insurance Institute, and covers the basic medical services.
New Immigrants (olim chadashim): The oleh may register for one of the health funds at the airport free of charge or at a post office at a later date for a small registration fee. If the oleh opts to register at the post office instead of the airport, he/she must request a medical insurance voucher at the airport from the immigration officials who welcome him. He/she then brings the voucher and immigrant booklet, the teudat oleh, to the post office and tells the clerk which fund he/she wishes to join. Those changing status in Israel need to go to the local Absorption Ministry office to obtain a teudat oleh and the medical insurance voucher.
Olim receive free health insurance for 12 months if they are not working or if their income is very low. This also applies to ezrachim olim and k’tinim chozrim. If you are employed, the health tax will automatically be deducted through your place of employment. Once the 12 months are up, one must make arrangements to pay the health tax to Bituach Leumi if one is not working.
Couples & Children: Each spouse may register with a different Fund. Children under 18 are registered with the Health Fund of the mother, barring special circumstances.
Salaried Workers: The health tax is deducted automatically from an employee’s salary.
Self-Employed: The self-employed must coordinate payments with Bituach Leumi.
Students & Yeshiva Students: All students must coordinate payments through Bituach Leumi.
Retirees: Retirees receiving Bituach Leumi allowances have their health tax deducted from the allowance. Seniors who do NOT receive a Bituach Leumi allowance must arrange payment for their health tax at the Gviya (Payment) Department at their local Bituach Leumi office. Arrangements can be made with Bituach Leumi to set up a standing order (hora’at keva) at your bank, to simplify the payment procedure.
Returning Residents: Please see the AACI Information Sheet on Returning Residents.
Transferring to Another Health Fund: Anyone registered with a Health Fund may transfer to another Fund up to 2 times in a twelve month period. Transfer requests may be submitted at any time, but take effect only 1½ to 3½ months later on specific dates 6 times a year. Until the date for all transfers of a particular period take effect, the member remains the responsibility of his/her current Fund. Transfers must be done at the Post Office for a small fee or online on the Bituach Leumi payments site (in Hebrew).
The information presented in this article was accurate at the time of publication. Changes in procedures and in the law may occur. AACI does not take responsibility for changes and recommends you confirm the above information with an AACI counselor.
Updated July 2020