Does Israel Cover Any Medical Expenses Abroad?
In principle, the obligation imposed by the law for the Kupat Cholim to provide health services to Israeli residents is limited exclusively to the territory of Israel. However, there is a defined set of cases where the insured is entitled to partial coverage of the costs of medical treatment abroad, subject to the fulfillment of all the following conditions:
- The treatment is in one of the following fields: organ transplants, congenital defects, tumors, cardiovascular diseases and neurocerebral diseases.
- The insured is unable to receive the required treatment or an equivalent treatment in Israel (if a little experience does exist in Israel, it is considered as if the insured is able to receive the treatment in Israel).
- The insured is in danger of losing his life if he does not receive the specific health service.
In addition, if in the opinion of the health fund a case presents exceptional medical circumstances, it may fund the treatment abroad.
Note: If a health fund rejects the insured's request to receive health services outside Israel, the decision may be appealed before a special appeals committee in the Ministry of Health.
For more information of Health Services Abroad click here.
Please note: coverage based on the above exceptions are rare, and it is very difficult to receive reimbursement if treatment has already begun abroad. Therefore, although not always possible, it is strongly recommended to receive approval for this coverage before one travels abroad for treatment.
As indicated above, there is a very limited criteria to receive coverage from your Kupah when abroad. This means when travelling to another country it is critical that one obtain travelers insurance (health insurance) before exiting Israel. Once you step foot on the plane, your Kupat Cholim will no longer cover you in any capacity.
There is much confusion around the kupah's traveler insurance. Supplemental insurance through your kupah does not cover you abroad. The kupot, however, do offer packages for health insurance to travel abroad. In this case, the kupah acts in effect as an insurance agent, and is outsourcing your coverage to a private agency. This must be purchased separately, and before you leave Israel. Alternatively, one can purchase travelers insurance through any of Israel's private insurance or travel insurance agencies.