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Guide to the Kupot Cholim (Israeli HMOs) for Foreigners

For the benefit of visitors to the site, we prepared a detailed and clear guide concerning your rights from a Kupat Cholim (Israeli HMO), how to get them and how to cancel them.

What is a Kupat Cholim? 
A Kupat Cholim (HMO) - (Kupot Cholim, pl.) is an organization that provides health services to its members. 
Every 18-year old Israeli resident is required by the Law of National Health Insurance to be enrolled in one of the Kupot Cholim. Every Israeli citizen who is registered in Bituach Leumi must register himself to receive health care (the “health basket”) through whichever Kupat Cholim that he chooses without having to pay an additional fee. 
Likewise, every foreign citizen who is residing in Israel and is registered in Bituach Leumi is entitled to receive the basket of health services from whichever Kupat Cholim that he chooses without having to pay an additional fee.
Important: A “resident” is any person who Bituach Leumi defines as a resident of the State of Israel. For the definition of a resident, see the Guide to Bituach Leumi for Foreign Residents.

Besides the grants and stipends that members are eligible for, it is important to be registered as a resident in Bituach Leumi because otherwise the Kupat Cholim is not required to give you the full basket of health services.
The Kupot Cholim aren’t always willing to give even basic medical coverage due to a person’s medical state or age, but Bituach Leumi obligates them to accept any person who is a resident and give them immediate medical coverage.
If you are paying Bituach Leumi insurance and health premiums, you are exempt from paying separately to the Kupat Cholim to get the health services basket stipulated in law.

Please note: The Kupot Cholim have special private tracks with different kinds of coverage for a person who is not defined as a resident by Bituach Leumi, such as: a B / 2 holder. These tracks charge privately and to join one must fulfill certain conditions. There are also private insurance companies who provide insurance policies to tourists in Israel. See the end of this guide.

What Is One Entitled To Get From A Kupat Cholim If One Is Registered As A Resident Of Israel? 

Every resident registered in Bituach Leumi is entitled to the basket of health services required by law.
The basket of services includes the following main services: diagnosis, treatment, consultation, hospitalization, laboratory tests, medications, access to specialty institutes, laboratories, outpatient clinics, medical accessories and equipment, dental care for children up to the age of 15 and more. 
The list of the full health service basket is listed in the National Health Insurance Law 1994, its amendments, and the National Health Insurance order (Medications in the Health Services Baskets), and updates are made to it every so often.

Important! Some services in the health services basket are given only after the member pays a small deductible.

Supplemental Health Services - (Supplementary Insurance): 
Kupat Cholim also offer supplemental health services ("supplemental insurance") not included in the regular basket of health services provided in the law. These include participation in the purchase of various drugs, receiving the opinion of a specialist, personal choice of a surgeon, orthodontic treatment, sports medical treatments, dietetic consultations and more.
For a member to be eligible for this supplemental health services package, he has to pay the Kupot Cholim a fixed monthly fee (the amount per family depends on the number of family members and their age) whether one uses these services or not.  There is no obligation to purchase this supplemental heath service package but the Kupot Cholim must make it available to any member who wants it.

Important! For some of these services there might be a waiting period before you are take advantage of them. The cost for these services varies according to age.

How many Kupot Cholim are in Israel? 

There are currently four Kupot Cholim:

              Clalit Health Services
•  Maccabi Health Services
•  Meuhedet Kupat Cholim
•  Leumit Health Services

Which Kupat Cholim is recommended? 

There is no clearcut choice. The reason why is because while all the Kupot Cholim have to provide the health services basket, you may have individual needs which one of them cater to better than others.  For instance:
                * A medication you may need may be outside the health services basket, and Kupot Cholim charge different deductibles for such medications.
* Every Kupat Cholim charges a different deductible for its quarterly (every 3 months) membership fee. 
* The accessibility, availability and service of the doctors you need will be different in each Kupat Cholim.
* How many branches the Kupat Cholim has and how close are they to where you live will make a very big difference.

How do I sign up? 

You should contact the medical secretary in one of the branches of the Kupat Cholim that you want to join and bring with you an ID. Some Kupot Cholim branches provide information for foreign nationals.

Is it possible to switch to another Kupat Cholim? 
One can switch from one Kupat Cholim to another once every six months after becoming a member. To transfer to another Kupat Cholim, you must fill out a transfer application which can be obtained from the Kupat Cholim or from an Israeli post office.
A person who has regrets that he registered for a new Kupat Cholim within a month of registering, can immediately cancel his registration and return to his previous Kupat Cholim. Otherwise he will have to wait six months after his registration to do so.

After applying to transfer to another Kupat Cholim, how long must one wait for the transfer take place? 
Currently there are six periods in a year when one can register for and transfer between the various Kupot Cholim — on every odd month until the 15th of the month, with the actual transfer only taking effect 45 days later, as follows:
  One who registered until January 15, his membership in the new Kupat Cholim will come into effect on 
 March 1.
•  One who registered until March 15, his membership in the new Kupat Cholim will come into effect on May 1.
•  One who registered until May 15, his membership in a new Kupat Cholim will come into effect on July 1.
•  One who registered until July 15, his membership in a new Kupat Cholim will come into effect on September 1.
•  One who registered until September 15, his membership in a new Kupat Cholim will come into effect November 1
•  One who registered until November 15, his membership in the new Kupat Cholim will come into effect on January 1.

From the date when his transfer took effect, the insuree is immediately entitled to receive all the medical services from the Kupat Cholim he now joined.

 Tourist Medical Health Plans:

The Kupot Cholim all have private tracks for payment offering various kinds of coverage for those who fulfill their conditions. The following are several of these tracks:

•  Klalit Health Services - provides a plan for foreign students.
•  Maccabi Health Services - provides a “Well-come” plan (Darkonaim).
•  Meuhedet Kupat Cholim - has a plan for foreign members.
• Leumit Health Services - offers a Top Medical plan (In Leumit, the service is given by Menora insurance company). 

There are also private insurance companies who provide insurance for tourists in Israel.

The Monthly Cost for a Tourist to Join a Kupat Cholim: 
The price varies between one Kupat Cholim and another and one insurance agent and another depending on age and the level of coverage.

Cancelling one’s membership in Bituach Leumi:

If you are permanently leaving the country, you must cancel your membership in your Kupat Cholim to avoid continuing monthly charges. To cancel your membership, you must go in person to the Kupat Cholim and notify them of your cancellation.
If you are a resident and are paying for the Kupat Cholim through Bituach Leumi, see our Guide to Bituach Leumi for Foreign Residents.
Contact information: 

Clalit Health Services - Tel: *2700
Maccabi Health Services Phone: 972-073-2606619 + or *3555
Email: Http://
Meuhedet Kupat Cholim - Tel: *3833
Leumit Health Services Phone: 1-700-507-507

Questions and Answers:
Can I join a Kupat Cholim if I don’t have a residence visa
Yes, the Kupot Cholim have various tracks for tourists.
I am a member in Bituach Leumi. Will I have to pay the Kupat Cholim
No, Bituach Leumi transfers a payment for you to the Kupat Cholim.
Can I switch to another Kupat Cholim
Yes, every six months.
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