Study: More Israelis Turning to Private Healthcare

Elective surgeries rose dramatically since 2007 at private hospitals, Ministry of Health reveals.

Tova Dvorin ,

Surgeon prepares to operate (file)
Surgeon prepares to operate (file)

More Israelis are leaving Israel's public health system for private doctors, according to a recent Ministry of Health study presented this week.

The study revealed that private medicine is becoming a more attractive option for patients looking to choose their surgeons, be seen on short notice, and receive more personalized care. 

Research focused on elective surgery, which by design allows the patient ample opportunity to carefully consider the possibility of choosing public over private care, according to Walla! News. Unlike emergency surgery made without delay, patients could deliberate over the hospital and circumstances to have procedures done; operations studied included tonsillectomy, joint replacement, thyroid removal surgery, prostatectomy and slipped disc operations.

Overall, there was found to be a sharp increase in turning to private medical care for elective surgeries, with the assumption that the decision was made instead of options being offered by the public system; elective surgery rates have risen dramatically in private hospitals in Israel from 2007-2013. The number of elective surgeries at public hospitals has remained stable or decreased. 

The study was presented at the annual conference of the Institute for Health Policy and National Health Services Research, and marked 20 years since the enactment of the National Health Insurance Law. The law brought many changes in the health system in Israel, including allowing HMOs to offer their clients additional health services (i.e. supplementary service) for an extra fee. From there, the trickle-down effect of private healthcare from a luxury of the rich to a tool of the masses took root. 

Due to the law and other changes, national spending on health care has risen considerably over the years. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2013 private insurance accounted for 11% of total national expenditure on health, compared to 2% in 1995, a year before the law took effect, and 5% in 2000.