Israel to Offer Medical Coverage for Ukrainian Refugees Over 60

Other Ukrainian refugees will be eligible for first aid and emergency medicine at private clinics paid for by the Israeli government

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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Ukrainian refugees at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, last week.
Ukrainian refugees at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, last week.Credit: Eyal Toueg
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Israel will provide complete medical insurance coverage for Ukrainian refugees aged 60 and older and those with disabilities, the finance and social services ministries said on Monday.

Other refugees will be eligible for first aid and emergency medicine at private clinics paid for by the government.

Under an agreement between the ministries, refugees entitled to complete medical coverage will be insured by private companies that have contracted with the Leumit Health Maintenance Organization to provide health care services.

All others will be covered for limited health care services at no cost by Terem, an urgent-care provider with branches across the country. Emergency services include consultations with a pediatrician or family doctor, treatment for minor injuries such as stitches, bandaging and casts, medicines, blood tests, x-rays and the like. Terem will offer telephone services in Ukrainian, Russian and English.

The move comes after the cabinet allocated 15 million shekels ($4.6 million) to provide refugees with humanitarian services, such as temporary housing in hostels for those who need it, basic health insurance and essential items, such as food and clothing. Children are eligible to be placed in daycare and the elderly in nursing homes.

The Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry said on Monday that it would also provide social services support to ensure the refugees are aware of what they are entitled to. It noted that the refugees were coming to Israel temporarily and that Israel was in a position to help them.

Last week, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said she opposed offering medical insurance and social benefits to refugees. A senior official in the ministry said that under the law, Ukrainians arriving in Israel had not officially been designated as refugees because their status is based on the country from which they left for Israel, which isn’t Ukraine but the countries they fled to from Ukraine. For that reason, he explained, they are not entitled to health insurance.

In response, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Friday that the Israeli health care system “won’t turn anyone away, certainly not anyone that has fled from a war zone and whose world was destroyed in just a single day.”

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