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Health Insurance

There are three layers of health insurance in Israel:

National Layer: Bituach Leumi (through your Kupat Cholim):  Thank God, Israel is a first rate western country that provides an extraordinary level of medical care for all of its citizens.  If an emergency comes up, you can go to the hospital and pay nothing.  When you need to see a doctor, you can just sign up online and the cost is very small co-pay.  Most medicines are subsidized, as are surgeries and other treatments.  But there are still some things that aren’t covered.  Instead, they are covered by the next two layers:

Shaban Layer:  Additional Health Insurance through Kuppat Cholim:  If you have something like Magen Zahav of Meuhedet Adif, you have what is called shaban (שב”ן – שירותי בריאות נוספים).  Shaban covers you for additional medicines that affect quality of life (ie treating a kidney stones in a way that hurts much less).  Shaban cannot offer any additional protection for anything that can save your life.  For that, you’ll have to turn to…

Private Health Insurance Layer:  Almost all the insurance companies in Israel (not kuppot cholim) offer private health insurance.  These private policies can usually be divided into three groups:

  1. The first  level of this insurance covers you for a certain amount towards transplants and/or additional drugs not subsidized by the government and/or surgeries abroad in the case of emergency. 
  2. The second level offers a slightly higher level that covers a wider range of emergencies not covered by kupat cholim, as well as certain quality of life treatments as well.  This level is usually called something like mashlim shaban – since it complements (להשלים) the insurance offered by the shaban – where the shaban pays for a part, the private insurance picks up the rest of the tab.  Alternatively, some policies allow you to have a higher deductible in the event that you need a surgery.
  3. The third and highest level covers a large plethora of emergencies and illnesses and pays you irrespective of whatever is covered by kupat cholim and the shaban.  These policies are cover you from the first shekel you pay and are therefore called “מהשקל הראשון” (leterally “from the first shekel”)

In addition to the basic insurance laid out above, there are several kinds of “riders” or mini-policies which you can stick on your medical policy.  Some examples include ambulatory (preventative medicine), alternative medicine, expedited medicine for a quick diagnosis, special services for women and special services for children.

The chart below lays out a basic map of all the policies offered in Israel.  Not all the items in each column are identical; each plan is unique in its coverage and limitations.  The map should serve as a basic guide to understanding what kind of plan you have or are interested in purchasing.


Level 1 Level 2

Level 3

Clal MediClal Basic
(A) tranplants and drugs
(B) A + Surgeries abroad
(C) A+B+certain surgeries in Israel
MediClal Perfect
(A) Shaban
(B) Higher deductible
MediClal Premium
Harel Basic
(A) Platinum – transplants, surgeries abroad, drugs
(B) Premium: A+extra services
(C) More: Platinum + some surgeries in Israel with higher deductibe
(D) Extra: Platinum + some surgeries and services in Israel
(A) Platinum: Shaban
(B) Premium: Shaban + Extra Services
(C) More Platinum: High deductible instead of Shaban
(A) Platinum
(B) Premium: Platinum + Extra Services
Menorah Top Basic Top Plus Top Premium
Midgal Private Insurance
(A) Private Insurance:
(B) Private Insrance +:
Private Mashlim Shaban Olami
(A) Olami
(B) Olami +: A + ambulatory
Phoenix First Line
(A) First Line: transplants + drugs
(B) First Line +: A + surgeries abroad
Silver Lining Mashlim Shaban Silver Lining