Private health insurance in Israel
Those moving or traveling to Israel will undoubtedly have many questions regarding how the Israeli healthcare system works, as well as whether private health insurance is necessary. This guide provides information about health insurance in Israel for foreigners and locals, as well as about the country’s healthcare system. Read on to learn more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
Healthcare in Israel
Healthcare in Israel is universal and obligatory for all Israeli residents, who in turn are entitled to basic health care. Israel has one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, on a par with Hong Kong, Singapore, or the US. While Israel’s socialized health system is designed to compensate for its citizens, it does not cover tourists and non-permanent residents, who should take out private health insurance with one of the health insurance companies in Israel.
Israel’s medical and paramedical infrastructure (namely, Magen David Adom, or The Red Shield of David- Israel's national emergency medical, ambulance, and blood bank service) is well developed, though the same can not necessarily be said of all areas of the West Bank or the Gaza strip.
In a life-threatening emergency, the Israeli health services will treat anyone, but should you fail to pay afterward, you are likely to be kept in the country until you do. Victims of hostilities in Israel, be it Israeli citizens and residents, tourists, and people working for Israeli companies abroad, are eligible for various benefits from the Israeli government according to circumstances, but this should not be relied upon as a substitute for comprehensive Israel expat health insurance.
Health insurance in Israel for working expats
Employers of foreign workers are required to provide them with private insurance equivalent to the benefits package Israelis are insured for, but in practice, these policies are often more limited, and may not cover prior diseases or chronic conditions. The policies may also be difficult to renew if you fall ill. You can also obtain an international insurance policy that is not tied to your employer and will stay with you should you decide to move jobs. Many of the policies Pacific Prime provides also cover medical evacuation and repatriation to your home country. This can provide peace of mind to expatriates who want to know that they can be treated at home in a familiar environment should the worst come to the worst, without having to worry about the high financial costs of sudden emergency repatriation.
Israel travel advice
We understand that foreign countries can be confusing. The below Israel travel tips cover the topics of local customs, laws and general behavior. Please be advised that the information contained below is only for reference purposes. It is by no means comprehensive and is liable to changes at any time without prior warning. Please consult with a travel professional before your trip to ensure that you have the most current data.
- Israel encompasses an area of historical importance for many local and worldwide religions and is a place where several religions and cultures brush shoulders. Visitors should be aware of this and respect people’s often strongly held beliefs and customs.
- The Jewish “Shabbat”, starting at sunset on Friday and ending on Saturday evening, means that in Israel Saturday is a weekly rest day for most Jews. Shops will often close relatively early on Friday to allow people to get home in good time for sunset. You should be especially aware of Shabbat in ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, for example in Jerusalem, and it is best not to enter them at all on a Saturday when they are blocked off. Residents may stone your car if you attempt to drive into their neighborhoods, as they consider driving to be prohibited on this day.
- During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the dates for which vary from year to year, Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. You may wish to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public places in predominantly Muslim areas during this month as a courtesy to the locals. Also, drinking alcohol in the presence of Muslims may cause offense. Be sensible about taking photographs of people in Muslim or Orthodox Jewish areas without their permission.
- Avoid taking pictures of military or police personnel or installations, as the Israeli authorities take any perceived security threats extremely seriously.
- The threat of terrorism in Israel is constant and unpredictable. Attacks can take place anywhere in the country and are not limited to Jerusalem, the West Bank, the area near the Lebanese border or Gaza and its surrounds, therefore you should be especially careful in these areas. There is also a risk of kidnapping.
- Public transport and any area where large numbers of people may gather, including border crossings and areas frequented by foreigners or expatriates are among the targets for indiscriminate attacks. Your insurance may not cover terrorism-related injuries or might be subject to limitations or exclusions. For more information and advice about health insurance in Israel for foreigners, please do not hesitate to contact one of our advisors.
- Partly as a result of the terrorist threat, those entering and exiting the country are subject to careful security screening, and long delays, prolonged questioning, and searches are not uncommon at the airport. People can be refused entry to the county by the Israeli authorities with no explanation. People bringing electronic devices and cameras into the country may also be subject to delays and even have them confiscated, although they will normally be returned on leaving the country.
- You should carry identification at all times when traveling in and around Israel in case the authorities ask for it and make copies of your passport in case it gets lost.
- Israel has severe penalties for drug-related offenses, such as smuggling or trafficking illegal drugs. Being caught in possession of illegal drugs is likely to result in a prison sentence followed by deportation.
- Israeli roads are often crowded and aggressive driving is a common problem. Israel has a very high fatality-rate from automobile accidents. In winter headlights have to be used day and night for intercity travel.
- Most visits to Israel are trouble-free. However, theft of valuables, credit cards or passports from public beaches is common.
Travel insurance for Israel
Healthcare, while of a high standard in most parts of Israel proper, can be commensurably expensive for non-citizens. Hospitals will insist on payment and may take legal action to prevent people from leaving the country until their bills are paid. Visitors who enter the country legally and are subsequently injured by ‘acts of hostility’ in Israel are eligible for certain benefits from the Israeli government, but this is subject to the specific circumstances. For peace of mind and to avoid unnecessary expense and distress, travel medical insurance is a must for those planning to visit Israel for any length of time.