Israel's Health Minister Rejects Push to End Subsidized Insurance for Foreigners' Kids

Nitzan Horowitz backs health insurance subsidies for children of those living in Israel without legal status, overruling panel calling to halt it

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, last week.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, last week.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz has rejected a recommendation by officials not to subsidize medical insurance for children of foreign nationals living in Israel without legal status, ordering the subsidies to continue without reference to the parents’ status.

Horowitz made his position known to ministry officials and the inter-ministerial panel that gave him the recommendation in the last several days. The recommendation did not differentiate between children born outside of Israel and those born in Israel.

He rejected a second recommendation made by the panel to increase the waiting period required before being able to enroll in the insurance program for children without legal status to 12 months instead of six.

The existing arrangement for subsidized health insurance is the only option available that provides these children with almost identical coverage to what Israeli children are entitled to. The other available option is purchasing a medical insurance policy for foreign tourists, but it is expensive and does not include some coverage that children require.

Medical coverage for children who have no legal resident status in Israel was initially established in 2001, but in the summer of 2018, and without warning, the government began refusing to sign up some children without legal status for the coverage – including the children of foreigners whose residence permit had lapsed. That prompted Physicians for Human Rights to file a court petition. As a result of the litigation, the inter-ministerial committee was established to recommend a new plan

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