Ask Aviva #27

Dear Aviva,

My wife and I made aliyah two years ago. We are in our late 50’s, but retired early to move to Israel. Yesterday, I heard you say in your lecture that new olim get one year of exemption from bituach leumi and then you have to pay every month. But we’re not working and I don’t think I’ve paid anything! What do I do?

Sincerely,

Anxious in Afula

Dear Anxious,

So glad you heard me make that important point in my lecture. In order to keep this great healthcare system afloat, everyone pays in a small percentage of their earnings to bituach leumi (~3%), which goes toward national insurance [all of the government benefits to which you are entitled] and mas briut, or a health tax, that goes to pay toward kupat holim (health services), to which all Israeli citizens are entitled. If you are not working or receiving a government stipend (unemployment, disability, etc..) then you are required to pay a minimum amount every month. Currently, this minimum amount (as of Jan 1, 2020) is 177 ILS. If you are married, this payment will cover both partners.

I recommend that, if you are not sure, you make contact with Bituach Leumi to find out what your status is, and if you owe money, no biggie. They will allow you to set up a payment plan that works for you.

Don’t let this lapse, however, because you could lose your health services coverage. If you don’t feel comfortable navigating the Bituach Leumi website yourself, I recommend you make a telephone appointment (thank you, corona!) and ask the clerk directly what your status is.

Sincerely,

Aviva, the Healthcare Advocate

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