Among the questions we are frequently asked here at SPP are: I am making Aliyah, which Kupat Cholim (health fund) do I choose? How do I know which Kupah is the best for me and my family?
We thought we’d give you the tips and tricks in how to choose your Kupat Cholim:
Israel has four health funds: Clalit, Leumit, Maccabi, and Meuchedet. It is important to remember that, in terms of coverage, all health funds are obligated to provide the same basic basket of health care services, and even their supplemental plans are highly comparable. The decision criteria described here are more about convenience and experience.
When you make Aliyah you can register for health coverage and choose your Kupat Cholim at the airport. You are not obligated to register at this time. If you are unsure for what plan to register, you can do so later at your local post office.
As far as choosing a Kupah, in every conversation about how to choose your Kupah (including one that took place a while back on our facebook page) it always comes down to the following criteria: Geography/Accessibility, Recommendations, Particular services/doctors.
Geography and Accessibility:
It is important that your local Clinic is close to, and accessible, from your home. For example, there are some towns that only have one health fund clinic within, or very close by. Even in dense cities, sometimes small details can make a difference in how easily you can show up at your clinic. You may want to find out which kupah has the absolute closest branch to your residence, or in a commercial center that you will be frequenting.
Those with personal experience in the local kupot are truly your best resource. If you have English speaking friends or family already living in a particular area, it is good to ask for recommendations on a health fund. Most Anglos living in the Jerusalem area register with Meuhedet or Maccabi, while many in Ramat Beit Shemesh sing the praises of their Leumit clinic. Clalit has the most extensive services in locales around the country. As long as there is adequate local infrastructure, some communities find that different kupot make an extra effort to cater to English speakers at times, or members find that they have many Anglo friendly doctors.
Are you involved in any community groups, even virtual? Facebook community groups are an amazing crowdsourcing resource, as well as the dedicated groups Israel Medical Inquiries and Navigate the Israeli Healthcare System. People with positive experiences in their kupah, or with particular doctors, or clinics are really the best resource for a recommendation.
If you have been referred to a particular specialist, or have a condition that needs attention, then it’s worth exploring if they work with a specific Kupah. It is also important to ascertain if your prospective Kupah has special arrangements with a hospital that you know will be a regular resource for you. Generally, all of the kupot offer adequate support for any condition you might need to deal with, but if you come in with specific preferences, then you can narrow down which kupah you want.
You’re Not Stuck
Remember you can always change your Kupat Cholim if you are unhappy with your first choice. See Switching Health Plans for general instructions for how to make the switch.
There is also the option to upgrade to supplementary insurance. Please note that you do not need to elect to upgrade upon making aliyah. You can opt for supplementary insurance at a later date, however a wait period for some additional services may apply.
As always, The Shira Pransky Project is here to assist with your navigational questions. Depending on your prospective community, they may be able to share the reputations and personal experiences with the different kupot that they have heard from other members, or connect you directly with others.
Whether you are a new Oleh, or have been here for years, we wish you a Mazel Tov, and Labriut, to your health!
For all of the most up-to-date Kupah brochures in English, check out: Forms and Files.