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HaMoked to HCJ: State must see to reimbursements for Palestinians who will soon receive status in Israel under the family unification procedure and have already joined health insurance funds under the new health regulations

New health regulations, securing national health insurance coverage for Palestinians lawfully living in Israel with stay-permits given as part of the family unification procedure came into effect on August 1, 2016. The program provided for in the regulations is, however, extremely costly (7,000 ILS membership fee, followed by monthly payments), and it is mandatory.

Following HaMoked’s intervention, the health minister decided to temporarily exempt from the program a specific group of about 2,000 Palestinians who are set to receive Israeli status soon, which means they will also receive national health insurance coverage at the regular cost (and without a membership fee). The minister, however, did not apply the exemption to those members of the group who have already joined the insurance program for fear they might lose their eligibility for status or accrue debts, and because of mounting pressure from the health insurance funds to join. This resulted in a distortion whereby people who joined the program stipulated under the health regulations are penalized and forced to pay thousands for health services they never received, while those who held off are exempt, at least for the time being, from paying the costly fee.

After further communications we made to the health minister went unanswered, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice on December 1, 2016, asking it to instruct the state to direct the health insurance funds to reimburse Palestinians for payments made under the health regulations. HaMoked argued that exempting only some people who belong to a specific group of 2,000 people unjustly discriminates against those who did as they were told by the health insurance funds and the authorities and jointed the health insurance program. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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