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Guide to Bituach Leumi for a Returning Resident

Guide to Bituach Leumi for a Returning Resident What is national insurance and health insurance?
 
Every (returning) Israeli resident 18 years old or older is required by law to be insured by Bituach Leumi and pay national insurance and health insurance premiums to the Bituach Leumi Institute.
 
In addition to national insurance premiums, Bituach Leumi collects the health insurance premiums and transfers them to the Kupot Cholim.
 
Bituach Leumi national premiums - serve as a government mechanism to protect the long-term economic interests of Israeli citizens.
 
National Insurance provides different levels of protection such as: involuntary unemployment (for example, due to dismissal, workplace accidents, or illness), family disasters such as the death of the family breadwinner, a disability which is congenital or due to an accident or illness, force majeur, poverty, pension payments after retirement, pregnancy complications or maternity leave, and injuries due to war or acts of terrorism.
 
Health insurance premiums — According to the National Health Insurance Law, all Israeli residents are insured in health insurance. Therefore, every resident must be registered in one of the Kupot Cholim (health funds, HMOs). The insured person may choose the Kupat Cholim which he wants to belong to, and the Kupat Cholim must provide him standard health services as specified by law.
 
A booklet containing 12 vouchers to pay your Bituach Leumi premiums is issued at the end of each year and sent to your mailbox. For the ways to pay the premiums, see the end of the Guide.
 
Who is defined as a returning resident?
 
The National Insurance Act does not define who is an Israeli resident. The courts have determined that an Israeli resident is a person for whom the center of his life is in Israel. For example: his family is in Israel, his work in Israel, he owns property in Israel, etc. and he wants to live permanently in Israel.
 
For a person to be considered an Israeli resident, he has to prove that the center of his life and the place where he actually lives is in Israel.
 
The more established a person’s relationship to Israel is, the more likely it is that he will be recognized as a resident of Israel.
 
A person can continue to be considered an Israeli resident even if he lives abroad, provided that his stay abroad is temporary (e.g. for studies, a vacation, temporary job, etc.), as long as Israel continues to be the center of his life. Bituach Leumi usually continues to recognize a person as an Israeli resident for the first five years after he left Israel.
 
Therefore, an Israeli resident living abroad must pay Bituach Leumi premiums and health insurance premiums even during his stay abroad. Late payment of his health insurance during his stay abroad may make him lose his rights to receive medical services for a few months, so it is important to keep up the payment of his premiums.
 
Bituach Leumi may examine a person's residency even before the five years passed. For example, in the event that a person requests even before five years passed since he left the country that Bituach Leumi recognize that the center of his life has moved abroad. Or Bituach Leumi has data which shows that the person has ceased to be a resident of Israel, even though five years hasn’t passed since he left the country. Or in the case that he was abroad for two years or more and lagged in paying his premiums for a period of at least twelve months.

What's documents are required to prove residency for Bituach Leumi?
 
A person who Bituach Leumi ceases to recognize as a resident of Israel and who would like to again be recognized as an Israeli resident, should fill out a questionnaire to determine residency for returning residents (Bituach Leumi form 628) and attach copies of documents which prove that you ended the center of your life abroad (e.g. you sold your assets, you terminated your insurance, left a job, gave up your foreign citizenship, etc.) as well as attaching copies of documents which prove that the center of your life moved to Israel (for example: you shipped items to Israel, rented an apartment, have an employment contract, registered children in school, opened a bank account, etc.).  You can receive a sample form in our office or may download it here.
 
A returning resident who is recognized as a resident of Israel and has children under 18 must fill out another form to get a Children’s Allowance (Bituach Leumi form 5025). You can receive a sample form in our office or may download it here.
 
Bituach Leumi will examine whether a person is a resident based on the questionnaire and the provided documents, and other tests as needed. The more convincing the evidence, the faster Bituach Leumi will recognize the person as an Israeli resident.
 
Please note : the person’s application will be put on hold until he completes the waiting period stipulated by law, or pays the redemption fee.
 
While filling out the residency application form, one can also fill out an application form to join whichever Kupat Cholim that he wants.
 
Please be advised : whoever resided abroad for over five years is entitled to an expedited process to reduce bureaucratic procedures by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption in cooperation with Bituach Leumi. During this process, one can fill out an application form to join the Kupat Cholim that one prefers. See Guide to Getting a Returning Resident Certificate.
 
What is the waiting period and what is the redemption fee?
 
An Israeli citizen living abroad for two consecutive years or more and ceased to be an Israeli resident, and one who lived abroad, and failed to pay the insurance premium for 12 months at least, will lose the right to receive medical services in Israel according to the National Health Insurance Law. 
 
When he returns to Israel permanently and wants to again be registered as a member in Bituach Leumi, he has to wait a waiting period to receive benefits, with the maximum waiting period being 6 months (150 days). Traveling abroad during the waiting period will extend the period.
 
During the waiting period one can purchase private insurance from one of the Kupot Cholim.
 
You can redeem the waiting period by paying a one-time fee of 10,950 NIS or up to six equal installments and receive the medical services immediately without any waiting period.
 
Even those who choose the waiting period must pay monthly Bituach Leumi national and health insurance premiums immediately upon their return to Israel when they are recognized as an Israeli resident. During the waiting period, one may insure himself with private health insurance in one of the Kupat Cholim.
 
Please note : children of returning residents who are under 16, will immediately receive medical services from the national health insurance, without a waiting period or payment of a redemption fee, provided that their parents were recognized as residents by the National Insurance Institute.
 
How is the waiting period calculated?
 
Definitions and concepts
 
A year - means 12 months from the day one left the country.
 
A year of absence - is 183 consecutive days or 12 non-consecutive months that one lived abroad.
 
A month of waiting - means a period of 25 consecutive days of living in Israel.
 
 For the first year of living abroad, one has to wait 2 months (50 days).
 
 For every additional year of living abroad, one has to add a consecutive extra month of waiting (25 days)
 
 In all cases, the maximum waiting time for returning residents is 6 months.
 
Please note : The 25 waiting days in the year must be consecutive, so whoever left Israel before completing 25 consecutive days of living in Israel will lose these days for the waiting period and will have to make them up when he returns, according to the calculation of 25 days for every year that he was abroad.
 
Going abroad for work or medical treatment
 
Since sometimes a person has to go abroad and stay there for work purposes or to receive medical treatment, and therefore is unable to remain in the country 25 consecutive days or more, the National Health Insurance Law gives him the right to calculate the waiting period differently.
 
In this case, they will ignore his trips abroad, and will only take into account all the days from from when he first came to Israel.
 
However, they will deem a month of waiting (if he has any months he still has to wait for) as a full calendar month (31, 30 and 28 days, whatever the number of days in that month is) instead of 25 days.
 
In order for Bituach Leumi to calculate the waiting period this way because one is working or receiving medical treatment abroad, one should provide the collection department of the local Bituach Leumi branch with an application form as follows:
 
One who is employed by an Israeli employer — should submit an application form through his employer to recalculate his waiting period (Bituach Leumi form 109). You can receive a sample form in our office or may download it here.
 
A self-employed employee — should submit a self-employed application form (Bituach Leumi form 110) to recalculate his waiting period. In this form he must declare his income as a self-employed worker. (He is required to open a VAT and income tax file.) You can receive a sample form in our office or may download it here.
 
A person who is staying abroad due to medical treatments - should submit an application form to recalculate his waiting period due to medical treatments (Bituach Leumi form 111). This form must have certification attached showing that the main reason he was abroad is for medical treatments. You can receive a sample form in our office or may download it here.
 
Which returning resident does not have to undergo a waiting period?
 
If one is living in a country that signed a social security convention with Israel and he paid social security premiums to that state, he only has to pay health insurance premiums to Israel.
 
Israel entered a social security with these countries: e.g. Austria, Uruguay, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Czech Republic, France, Sweden and Switzerland.
 
A person who was sent by an Israeli employer to work and live abroad and his work contract was signed in Israel, his employer is responsible for paying his Bituach Leumi premiums instead of him.
 
What should an Israeli citizen temporarily living abroad do if his membership in Bituach Leumi was cancelled?
If you lost your membership and would like to appeal it because your stay abroad was temporary, you will have to prove that your stay abroad continues to be temporary, and that the center of your life is still in Israel. You will have to fill out an questionnaire for determining residency for one living abroad (in Bituach Leumi form 627) and attach proof of your claims. You can receive a sample form in our office or may download it here.
 
Leaving Israel Permanently to Live Abroad
 
Every resident of Israel, who is age 18 and older, must pay Bituach Leumi premiums and health insurance premiums in a fixed monthly payment to Bituach Leumi.
 
If you emigrated abroad, or are returning overseas, it is recommended that you cancel your resident status in Israel with Bituach Leumi so you won’t be charged further premiums. Bituach Leumi will view you as a foreign resident with no insurance coverage at all.
 
If you are an Israeli citizen and left for a period of less than two years, it is better not to immediately cancel your residency, because if you ever need medical services, you will be able to return to Israel and receive medical care without a waiting period.
 
What should I do to cancel my residency?
 
To cancel your residency and be exempt from Bituach Leumi payments, you must fill out a form to establish residency abroad (Bituach Leumi form 627). To print, click here.
 
You will have to prove that the center of your life has permanently moved abroad. For instance, you are now living there, studying there, and/or were married there.
 
During this period, you can visit Israel for not more than 183 days a year.
 
You can send your request to establish residency abroad by fax. It is recommended to also include a detailed personal letter and documents proving that you are not a resident of Israel.
 
To determine the fax number in your region, please contact the call center for Israelis living abroad: 972-8-9369669 (The service is available on Sunday - Thursday from 8:00 to 15:00).
 
Make sure that they received the fax and are processing it.
 
Please note : You should check if the country where you migrated for the short term has a reciprocal taxation treaty with Bituach Leumi. If there is such a convention, you will not have to pay Bituach Leumi premiums but you will have to pay health insurance premiums in Israel if you want to remain insured in Israel.
 
How to pay Bituach Leumi premiums
 
You can pay your Bituach Leumi premiums in one of the following ways:
 
1.  Go to the post office nearest your home with the payment voucher sent to you. Payment may be made with cash only.
 
2.  By telephone, with a service representative. Dial  * 6050 (Sunday - Thursday 8:00-17:00), 
 
then press 1 #, 1 #, then press your ID number #, your 4-digit PIN code and # (optional), 1 # 2 #.
 
When the representative answers, you will have to give the contract account number that appears on the bill, and your credit card information to pay.
 
After the payment is confirmed, you may ask that the authorization of your payment be sent to your residence.
 
3. By a monthly direct debit from your bank account, after you completed and submitted the Bituach Leumi form, and it was approved by the Bank. To download the form, click here.
 
You can not pay your bill at the Bituach Leumi web site.
 
How to get a PIN number
 
In every telephone call to Bituach Leumi, you have to identify yourself with a temporary identity number which you are given when your registration for Bituach Leumi is approved. In addition, you must also identify yourself with a 4-digit PIN code which can be obtained in one of the following ways: 
 
1.  Go to your nearest Bituach Leumi branch.
 
2.  By telephone — ask them to send your PIN by post to your home address. It may take a week to arrive.
 
To get a service representative, dial * 6050 (Sunday - Thursday 8:00-17:00),
 
Afterwards, click 1 #, 1 #, then your identity card number, 1 #, *, 1 #, 2 #.
 
When the representative answers, give the name of the insured and his ID number which is listed on the Bituach Leumi vouchers.
 
3.  The Bituach Leumi web site. You can request there to have the secret PIN sent by mail to your home address. It may take a week to arrive. For the link, click here. Fill in your ID number, and your full date of birth.
 
For general inquiries to Bituach Leumi:
 
Telephone switchboard for callers from abroad 972-8-9369669 is available between Sunday until Thursday, between 8:00-15:00.
Questions and Answers:
I am an Israeli citizen who went abroad for a temporary period. What should I do so my residency won’t be canceled
Answer:
You must fill out form 627 to declare that your departure is temporary.
Will a returning resident have to undergo a waiting period to receive his benefits after he registers again in Bituach Leumi
Answer:
Yes. Refer to the Guide regarding how to calculate the waiting time.
I'm in the waiting period to get my rights from Bituach Leumi. How can I get health coverage during this period
Answer:
During the waiting period, you can purchase private insurance in one of the Kupot Cholim or pay a redemption fee of 10,950 NIS and immediately receive benefits from Bituach Leumi.
What is the difference between Bituach Leumi’s insurance coverage and a Kupat Cholim
Answer:
Bituach Leumi gives most insurance coverage that a person needs in the medical and economic sphere, as opposed to the Kupot Cholim that only gives medical coverage.
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