Sunday, February 19, 2012

Health Insured and Health Ensured

Aviel Yelinek

Since the entry into force of the National Health Insurance Law in 1994, Israel’s residents have the right to register with one of the state’s Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO, in Hebrew – Kupat Holim, “sick fund”), which include a variety of healthcare services and medicines as designated and periodically updated by the Ministry of Health in its “basket” of healthcare services. This “basket” defines which healthcare services and medicines must be provided by the HMO to all of its insured members. The insurance is funded by means of a healthcare tax based on a percentage of the monthly income of every employee. Health insurance does not cover all of the medicines or treatments available through modern medicine. For this reason the HMOs themselves, as well as private companies, offer supplementary insurance aimed at partial or complete coverage for treatments and medicines that are not included in the “basket” of healthcare services.

According to the Social Survey of the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2010 a total of 76% of Israel’s residents had supplementary health insurance from one of the HMOs. The percentage of Jerusalemites with supplementary insurance was 60%, which was significantly lower than the figure for residents of Tel Aviv (88%), Rishon LeZion (87%), and Haifa (83%). The data also indicates that 41% of Israelis had disability insurance as well through one of the HMOs. The percentage of Jerusalemites with disability insurance was only 21%, which was significantly lower than the figure for residents of Tel Aviv (59%), Rishon LeZion (47%), and Haifa (45%). The percentage of individuals with disability insurance rises as the age of the insured population rises, and therefore, the low percentage of Jerusalem’s disability-insured population is most likely a result of the city’s high percentage of children under the age of 18.

Interestingly, 28% of Israelis had private health insurance outside the framework of the HMOs. The percentage of Jerusalemites with private health insurance was only 18%, which was lower than the figure for residents of Rishon LeZion (41%), Haifa (35%), and Tel Aviv (32%).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Yair Assaf-Shapira

The Internet is used for a variety of purposes: information seeking, email correspondence, contact with friends, and more. Presumably some of you are even reading this column through the Web. Use of the Internet is relatively widespread, with 67% of Israel’s residents aged 20 and above having used it during 2010 and with usage increasing from year to year. In 2002, the first year during which the Central Bureau of Statistics' Social Survey was conducted, it was found that 32% of Israel’s residents aged 20+ had used the Internet, and in 2005 a total of 47% of Israel’s residents aged 20+ used the Internet.

During the years 2009-2010, a total of 52% of Jerusalem residents aged 20+ used the Internet. There is a significant difference between Jews (66%) and Arabs (33%), and among Jews there is a difference in Internet usage according to religious affiliation. The lowest rate of Internet usage was recorded in the Haredi population (35%). Among the Masorati (traditional religious) the rate of usage was 61%, among the secular it was 80%, and among the Orthodox the highest rate was measured – 84%.

As in the case of Israel’s residents generally, among Jerusalemites aged 20+ the most common use of the Internet was for the purposes of information seeking and email. Among Jerusalem’s computer users, 92% and 88% (respectively) reported that they use the computer for these purposes. Additional purposes were the downloading of files (58%) and discussion groups and chats (46%). Interestingly, many Jerusalemites also use the computer to access governmental services (38%), to shop (25%), and to make payments (23%).

Among Jerusalemites with mobile phones, 11% used the Internet through the phone, compared to 19% in Israel generally. The remainder opted not to use this service or had phones that lack this service. Presumably some of these are among the 39% of Jerusalem residents aged 20+ (27% among Israel’s residents) who claim that “the Internet is a waste of time.” Most Jerusalemites (65%) and Israeli residents (73%) held an opposite opinion, claiming that “use of the Internet is enjoyable.”

Source: Analysis of data from the Central Bureau of Statistics