21 October 2014

No card? Still get served at health fund (kupat cholim)

The days of missing appointments or begging to get a prescription filled for lack of a health fund (קופת חולים / kupat cholim) magnetic card are over.

No card… no service?
kupat cholim pinFrom personal experience, I can say that at times I have been prevented from seeing a doctor or picking up a prescription when I didn’t have my health fund card.  (Usually, it is due to forgetting to get the card back from Mrs. Matzliach after a recent run she made to the pharmacy.)  And, apparently, I am not alone as Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General for Health Funds and Additional Medical Services Yoel Lipschitz indicated to The Jerusalem Post.

The deputy director-general told The Jerusalem Post that there had recently been cases, especially at Maccabi Health Services, in which staffers insisted they could not give service or that appointments were delayed because members had not brought along their cards.

“Even at a bank, if you forgot your debit card, you can still show another identification card and take out money,” said Lipschitz.

Cards are appreciated, not required
While noting the great advantages that the magnetic card provides, Deputy Director-General Lipschitz instructed the health funds in a formal memo to stop using the lack of a magnetic card as a reason to deny or delay service.

עם זאת, יש להבטיח כי אי הצגת הכרטיס לא תמנע את קבלת השירותים הרפואיים, דבר שעשויה להיות לו חשיבות מיוחדת, כשמדובר בשירותים בסיסיים של פנייה לרפואה ראשונית, עזרה ראשונה והנפקת תרופות. כאשר לצורך מתן השירות, קופת החולים רשאית לדרוש אמצעי זיהוי מהימן אחר. גם לגבי שירותים שאינם בסיסיים, יש להימנע מהתניה העלולה לגרום לביטול תוראו עיכוב בקבלת שירות שלעיתים כרוך בזמני המתנה ממושכים, ויש לאפשר קבלת השירות ע”י זיהוי בדרך חלופית ומהימנה.

kupat cholim nurse

While it is preferable to carry your health fund card, if you can prove your identity otherwise such as with an identification card (תעודת זהות), a driver’s license, or passport, you should no longer have to miss a doctor’s appointment or not be able to fill a prescription just because you forgot it.

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Comments

  1. what people don’t know about the card is that without it especially in maccabi
    if the card is not swiped the doctor does not get paid for your visit therefore
    there is a physician’s interest in you bringing your card and in denying services
    until you bring it!

    • karen, that is very unfortunate! As I understand it, there are workarounds, and the situation differs whether your doctor is salaried or not. Maccabi, for example, has a high percentage of non-salaried doctors.

      Of course, no one would want a doctor to not get paid for his services. At the same time, as a patient, I do not want me or my child to have to miss an appointment, especially if it had been scheduled long in advance, just because I forgot a card. It sounds like Maccabi doctors need to work out a better system with the Maccabi health fund to verify that patient services were delivered.

      • karen and others, I have an update. I spoke with a source at Maccabi who informed me that a new procedure has just been implemented to allow doctors to be paid for visits even when their patients do not bring their magnetic cards. Among other options, the patient may be asked to sign a visit confirmation form.

        With Maccabi’s quick response to this issue, I imagine that any problems at other health funds can be handled as quickly as possible, too. So, bring your card if you can, but don’t worry about not being seen or the doctor not being paid if you don’t have it.

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