A report published by the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday revealed that the insurance industry is still struggling to offer adequate mental health coverages, and the cost of treating patients is still too high.
According to the report, the number of covered mental health issues has increased by 6 percent between 2013 and 2017, but that rate of increase has slowed down in 2018, when only 2.7 percent of covered illnesses were covered by insurance.
The findings come as the Israeli government has proposed an overhaul of mental health insurance policies.
The draft bill, which will be presented to the Knesset next week, would require insurers to cover mental health problems that have been certified by a psychiatrist, a nurse practitioner, an emergency medical technician, a certified social worker or a nurse midwife.
Insurers would also be required to cover the cost to treat a mental health issue that is diagnosed by a third party.
According the report by the advocacy group B’Tselem, the draft bill would make mental health care more affordable, but only if mental health professionals are included in the equation.
The report also points out that there are only a few mental health hospitals in Israel, and they can only provide treatment for those patients who are deemed stable.
The report said the draft legislation is not comprehensive enough to ensure that all people with mental health conditions are covered, but it is the only solution for those who are at a high risk of losing their lives.
“If we are going to create a society based on human rights, we should start with a comprehensive solution,” said Avraham Blumberg, the executive director of B’Tsselem.
“It is important that everyone who suffers from mental illness is given the best care possible.”
Blumberg also said that the bill is still far from adequate.
“A major problem is that we don’t have enough coverage for those people who are in the highest risk of death,” he said.
“When people go to hospital, the first thing they do is take their medication, but what about when they have to get treatment in the emergency room?”
Blumburg added that the draft proposal is “a step in the right direction, but we should not be rushing ahead with this.”
The Israeli government plans to unveil a national mental health policy on Friday.
A bill on the bill has been in the works since last year.