According to The National Health Insurance Law, the chronically ill are entitled to payment assistance for medications (including medications which are not directly related to the chronic illness). This is done through the establishment of a quarterly or semi-annual co-payment ceiling on purchasing medications.
- The National Health Insurance Law sets a maximum amount (payment ceiling) that may be collected from chronically ill patients for medications (regular and otherwise) that they require throughout the month.
- Beyond this amount, the health plans provide the medications at no cost.
- For chronically ill patients who have reached retirement age and who receive an income supplement or Old Age Disability Pension are eligible for a discount of half of the ceiling established for the rest of the chronically ill.
Who is Eligible?
- Those who have been recognized by the Ministry of Health as being chronically ill are eligible to pay only up to the established ceiling.
- Eligibility for payment of half the established ceiling is provided to one who is determined as chronically ill, has reached retirement age, and who receives one of the following:
Medications Included in Calculation of the Ceiling
- The medications and equipment included in calculation of the payment ceiling must meet all of the following conditions:
- The medications/disposable equipment (such as syringes) are in the basic healthcare basket (i.e. not those covered by supplemental insurance), including medications the patient purchased that are not related to the chronic illness.
- They have been purchased through the health plan (i.e. with a prescription from a health plan doctor and funded by the health plan as opposed to being purchased privately).
- They have been purchased during the same calendar quarter (January through March, April through June, July through September, October through December), or half year (January through June, July through December) - in accordance with the health plan's procedures.
- Medical foods included in the healthcare basket are not included when calculating the ceiling; they have a separate ceiling.
Different Health Plan Ceilings
- The following table provides information about the different health plans' payment ceilings.
- These numbers change from time to time and it is recommended to verify the most up-to-date information with the health plans.
|Health Plan||Payment Ceiling||Payment Ceiling for Old Age Pension Income Supplement Recipients|
|Clalit Health Services||934 NIS quarter (921 NIS previously)||467 NIS quarter (461 NIS previously)|
|Leumit Health Fund||945 NIS quarter (921 NIS previously)||472 NIS quarter (460 NIS previously)|
|Maccabi Healthcare Services||891 NIS quarter (881 NIS Previously)||445 NIS quarter (440 NIS previously)|
|Meuhedet||300 NIS/month (900 NIS/quarter) according to a semi-annual calculation (286 NIS per month previously)||150 NIS/month (450 NIS/quarter) according to a semi-annual calculation (143 NIS per month previously)|
A diabetes patient (who has been recognized as chronically ill) is insured by Clalit, where the monthly payment ceiling is 311 NIS (934 NIS/quarter). In July she spent 300 NIS on medications and the same amount in August. In September, in addition to her regular medications, she also purchased medicine for an ear infection and syringes, such that the sum of her purchases totaled 360 NIS.According to a quarterly calculation, her purchases amounted to 960 NIS, but she was only charged up to the payment ceiling (934 NIS) by her health plan.
An elderly man receiving an Old Age Pension income supplement suffers from chronic heart failure and requires 220 NIS worth of medications every month (a total of 660 NIS per quarter).He is a member of Leumit, where the quarterly ceiling is 472 NIS, so instead of being charged 660 NIS per quarter, he would only have to pay 472 NIS.
How to Claim It?
- According to Ministry of Health directives, the health plans are responsible for identifying and following up with the chronically ill so that the ceiling is calculated for them automatically.
- It is recommended for chronically ill patients to verify that they are recognized as such in their health plan's records. If not, they must contact their attending physician to receive confirmation.
- Sometimes the payment ceiling goes into effect automatically at the time of payment, while sometimes the patient receives a reimbursement at the end of each quarter. (see the example Expalnation for Maccabi Members on their website)
- Payments for visits to medical specialists and facilities are not included in the payment ceiling arrangements, but there is a quarterly family ceiling for payments for all insured parties (not just those who are chronically ill).
Laws and Regulations
- Deputy Ministry of Health Director for Health Plan and Additional Health Services Supervision Circular 14/10 from 01.11.2010 - Definition of chronic illness for purposes of establishing a medication payment ceiling for the chronically ill
- Deputy Ministry of Health Director for Health Plan and Additional Health Services Supervision Circular 13/11 from 15.11.2011 - Definition of chronic illness for purposes of establishing a medication payment ceiling for the chronically ill - Update