According to the regulations in Section 58 of the National Health Insurance Law (which took effect November 1, 2008), any Israeli citizen who returns to live permanently in Israel will have a waiting period before receiving medical services through Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute). The waiting period is two months for every year of absence from Israel through October 31, 2008, and one month for every year of absence from November 1, 2008. The maximum total waiting period is six months. A year of absence from Israel is deemed to be any year during which an Israeli stayed outside of Israel for at least 183 cumulative days. This rule applies in the following circumstances:
- Israeli citizens who have resided outside of Israel since March 1, 2001 for 2 years or more and did not pay health insurance payments through Bituach Leumi for 12 months or more, will not be entitled to medical services upon returning to live permanently in Israel. This does not apply to Israeli citizens who left Israel for a period of up to 5 years, and continued to pay National Health Insurance payments.
- Israeli citizens who left the country and who are not recognized anymore by the National Insurance Institute as Israeli residents will not be eligible for medical services upon returning to live permanently in Israel, for the waiting period specified by law. (This applies even if you paid the National Health Insurance payments!)
Who is NOT subject to Section 58?
- Ezrachim Olim (Israeli Citizens Born Abroad) will be eligible for coverage after presenting a Teudat Zakaut (Oleh Certificate) at the local branch of Bituach Leumi.
- Ktinim Chozrim (Returning Minors) will be eligible for coverage after presenting their Teudat Zakaut (Oleh Certificate) at the local branch of Bituach Leumi.
- Olim who are currently making Aliyah but previously held Temporary Resident status (A-1). A final decision regarding eligibility will be made by Bituach Leumi. We recommend that you purchase private health insurance before your arrival and maintain this coverage until your eligibility is determined by Bituach Leumi.
If you held an A-1 visa in the past and you wish to sign up for Kupat Cholim, bring the following documents to the Machleket Gviya (Payment Department) at the local branch of Bituach Leumi:
- Teudat Zehut (Israeli ID card)
- Teudat Oleh, or a letter received from Misrad Haklita
- Transcript of entry and exit from Israel (this can be issued at Misrad Hapnim)
At Bituach Leumi, you are required to fill out 2 forms:
- Declaration of Settlement in Israel
- Request for Kupat Cholim (Health Fund)
Ezrachim Olim and Ktinim Chozrim are able to sign up for health insurance at their local branch of Misrad Haklita.
As a returning resident, there are several options you can pursue in order to ensure full health coverage upon your return to Israel:
Special Payment to Bituach Leumi:
Returning residents of Israel may cancel this waiting period by paying 11,910 NIS (as of 01/01/2019) to Bituach Leumi. By paying this fee, returning citizens are eligible to join the Kupat Cholim of their choice immediately after (approximately 2-3 weeks) being recognized as a resident by Bituach Leumi.
Please note: The Bituach Leumi payment can only be made using an Israeli credit card. US/CANADA/UK credit cards are not accepted.
For more information, please check the Bituach Leumi web site at www.btl.gov.il or call 972-8-650-9911. Call center hours are from 7:00am-11:30pm Israel time. If you wish to pay online see: https://b2b.btl.gov.il/b2b/framesetlogonanonymous.asp
Additional Healthcare Options:
If you do not wish to pay the 11,910 NIS fee and instead choose to wait the mandatory time period once in Israel, the following options are available for purchasing private health insurance during these months:
1. Kupat Cholim Clalit / Mashlim Chul: A special enrollment program that provides Toshavim Chozrim, tourists, and students with health coverage. All those who are eligible and join the program are insured by Kupat Cholim Clalit and will be entitled to receive all of the basic health benefits afforded to Israeli citizens. This program covers pregnancy, but not hospitalizations or childbirth.
For specific cases, additional information, and terms of enrollment, please see the Mashlim web site or call 1-866-MASHLIM. For information on the Clalit Maternity Plan, please contact Clalit directly.
2. Darconaim: Maccabi Health Fund: A special enrollment program for Toshavim Chozrim, tourists, and students with health coverage. For terms and conditions please contact Maccabi at 1-700-50-53-53 or visit their website: http://www.maccabi4u.co.il/407-he/Maccabi.aspx. This program covers pregnancy, but not hospitalizations or childbirth.
3. Meuhedet plan for foreign residents: A special enrollment program for Toshavim Chozrim, tourists, and students with health coverage. For terms and conditions please contact Meuhedet at 03-5207885 or visit their website. This program covers pregnancy, but not hospitalizations or childbirth.
4. Shiloach Insurance for Tourists/Students: For terms and conditions, please contact:
Beit Harel, 3 Rechov Abba Hillel
POB 1951, Ramat Gan 52118
Tel: (03)754-7000 or (02) 640-4444
5. American Israel Medi-Plan (AIM): A private medical program that has provided medical coverage in Israel for the past 23 years. The AIM Medical Center is located in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem. Office hours are daily from 9:00AM to 5:00PM and the staff is comprised of American doctors. There is also a physician on duty 24 hrs/day, 7 days/wk. For terms and conditions, please call 1-800-4-AIM-PLAN or visit the AIM website at www.travel.aim.co.il.