All citizens of Israel are insured by the National Health Insurance Law. Health services are provided by the four health funds: Kupat Holim Clalit, Kupat Holim Leumit, Kupat Holim Meuhedet, and Kupat Holim Maccabi. Each health fund has clinics throughout the country.
When you arrive in the country, or change your status in Israel, you should receive a voucher along with your te’udat oleh that entitles you to six months of free health insurance, provided that you are not working.
The process of registering with a health fund (kupat holim) begins at a local post office branch office, where you will present the following items:
Voucher for six months of free health insurance. Te’udat oleh.
Te’udat zehut (or Authorization of Registration in the Population Registry).
Cash for a processing fee.
At the post office, you will indicate the health fund of your choice, as well as the health fund in which you wish to register your children. Children over the age of 18 register separately, presenting either their own or their parents’ te’udat oleh. Note that for married couples, both spouses must be present (although spouses may register in separate funds if they wish).
Afterwards, you can take the registration certificate stamped by the post office to the secretariat of the health fund you have selected. At the time of registration, the health fund will issue you a temporary membership card, which you may use to obtain medical services until you receive a permanent card. Your health coverage will go into effect immediately upon registration. Note that you are not considered as registered until this step has been taken. In other words, the procedures at the postal bank alone are not sufficient to insure your coverage, and you must go and register with the health fund in order to receive any kind of medical care.
Health fund membership entitles you to the basic, universal “basket of health services” mandated by law. You can also choose to acquire a supplementary insurance package, known as bituach mashlim, for an additional monthly fee. Terms and benefits of supplementary insurance vary according to fund; it is worthwhile clarifying what each health fund can offer you before making your final decision about which one to join.
Note: Registration in a health fund is a necessary condition for receiving medical services. It is very important to register in a health fund as soon as possible after arriving in Israel, in order to be eligible for health care as soon as you may need it. Failure to register with a health fund can result in unnecessary problems and difficulties in receiving medical care.
For detailed information about the health-care system in Israel, refer to the booklet entitled “Health Services in Israel,” available from the Publications Department of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption (see the order form at the back of this booklet).