In Israel health care is free for citizens and permanent residents. Health care is provided by four different health funds "kupot holim". (You can change providers every six months.) Basic health care services, "the basket" are mandated by law.
Ask any of the four health funds: Clalit; Leumit; Maccabi and Meuhedit for details of their coverage and other services offered or look at their websites for information about their supplementary services available for an additional fee.
Check your health insurance policy provisions before you leave for Israel as tourists must pay for medical care, which may reclaimable from your insurance provider. Be sure to carry all the relevant documentation with you to Israel and take it with you to the doctor's office.
Many insurance plans require you to obtain prior approval for non-emergency treatment. This will usually require a phone call home to your insurance company. In a real emergency administrators will normally wait on the paperwork, and most plans require notification as soon as possible after the emergency.
Meuhedit is considered to offer the most comprehensive service in Jerusalem, whereas Maccabi is considered to provide the best coverage overall in the rest of Israel. If you plan to stay outside of the main urban centers check which "kupa" has a clinic at your location as, for historical reasons, services on many moshavim and kibbutzim are only offered by Clalit and Leumit.
Clait is the oldest and largest health fund in Israel, founded in 1911, it owns 14 hospitals, including the Schneider Children's Medical Center, long term care facilities, and two psychiatric hospitals.
Main clinic opens Sunday to Friday: Rechov Hanassi, next to the zoo. Tel 682 5555.
Pharmacy on the premises.
Leumit was founded in 1933 and has over 700,000 members nationwide. It is committed to preventative health care. Open Sunday to Friday.
Main clinic: 1st floor Mercaz Tzil on Jerusalem Street; Tel: 04 684 9400
Pharmacy on the premises
Maccabi offers insurance coverage to long-stay visitors. There is a 24 hour telephone advice service and you can receive after hours "house calls" if required, in addition to the normal services.
Main clinic: Arosolov Street/ 72 Jerusalem Street at the bottom of the Bank Hapolim building. Tel: 04 692 0165
Blood Testing available Sunday-Thursday 7.30am -10.00am
Meuhedit has been operating since 1974 and offers alternative medicine clinics as well as regular medical services. There is free dental care for children under 12. As part of its other services, it also owns two hotels, available at a discount to members.
Main clinic: Weitzmann 6, next door to Supersol Big; Tel 04 686 8111
Partial pharmacy on the premises.
English Speaking Doctors In Safed.
Dr Yitzak Stern, a recent mayoral candidate, works for both Maccabi and Meuhedit, speaks English and has a private office. There are several other English speaking doctors at the various clinics. So before you sign up with a health fund, check that their doctors speak your language.
Dental care at a discount is available through the kupot, as well as privately. Dr Harris is the best known English speaking dentist in Safed.
There are many opticians in Safed, and the "kupot" have arrangements with particular opticians to offer discounted services.
Pharmacies close early on Fridays and reopen Sunday morning so don't forget to get medication or prescriptions filled before they close. Medicines normally have a minimum co-pay of 15% for "kupa" members when you show your membership card.
Pharmacy Golan is at 39 Jerusalem Street, near the English library and at 92 Jerusalem Street, near the bridge, is Pharmacy Canaan.