While the health plans cover your health needs while physically in Israel, this coverage does not extend to visits abroad. In light of this, it is important to purchase traveler’s insurance for short and long visits outside of Israel, to cover routine and emergency medical care for yourself and your children. Policies cover medical and hospitalization costs, and may also cover personal accidents, personal effects, loss of travel expenses, and search and rescue operations. For as little as 4 NIS a day, you can be covered for small and large health expenditures. The cost varies by provider, as well as by the extent of the insurance you purchase.
Traveler’s health insurance policies are available through various avenues: the health plans, international credit cards, travel agents and private insurance agents. You may purchase (and cancel) insurance up until the day of departure and may extend the length of the coverage while abroad, before the policy expires. Traveler’s policies may be restricted based on age, health status and preexisting conditions.
Insurance via the Health Plans
You may sign up for insurance through the health plans by internet, by telephone or in person at your local branch. The health plans often offer the best value for money, as compared to private policies. Cost is calculated by age and the extent of the coverage – personal effects insurance, ski and extreme sports insurance and maternity insurance all increase the cost.
Insurance via Israeli International Credit Cards
Holders of Israeli international credit cards are often eligible for free basic traveler’s insurance, with an option of expanding for extra coverage. Call your credit card company for exact details.
Insurance via Travel Agents and Private Insurance agents
Policies may be purchased through your travel agent and also through private insurance agents.
Health plans often offer coverage until the beginning of the third trimester (weeks 30-32), while private policies may insure you through week 36. In the case of high risk pregnancies, including multiple pregnancies, it may be difficult to find insurance coverage. Maternity coverage is considered expanded coverage and the cost is higher than basic care.
Ski and Extreme Sports
Traveler’s health insurance may be extended to cover skiing and extreme sports. This extension is age-limited and the cost is higher than for basic insurance.
Filing a Claim
If you wish to file a claim, you will need to provide receipts of payment and medical notes or records. Most policies provide a form for the physician to fill out. In cases of hospitalization or other large expenses, you should call the emergency number of the insurance company to arrange direct payment.
When choosing a policy, here are some important items to check for:
- What is the deductible for a doctor visit or hospitalization?
- What is the maximum amount covered for a doctor visit or hospital day?
- Is emergency dental work part of the plan?
- What is the procedure for filing a claim?
- Is a medical return flight to Israel included?
- If you are pregnant, until what week are you covered?
- Is your specific pre-existing condition covered?
Before You Travel
Before leaving Israel, make sure you have emergency numbers on hand, as well as forms to be filled out if necessary and contact information for English speaking doctors (can be found on the US embassy site in the country you are traveling to).