Press Release: Interview with SIR Zahal Levy, President of MediHelp International, about access to medical care after the pandemic crisis
What do you think about this coronavirus situation and how will it affect all of us in the long term?
Sadly, I cannot hide my worries regarding the possible threat to our local, but also the global economy. Each one of us already knows someone who may have lost some or all of their income because of the situation. The good news is that with what is called “the returning economy” by the experts, all this will probably compensate for those who navigated this period both cleverly and without panicking.
For now we still see some movement restrictions, closed businesses, and continued high unemployment. But worse than that, many of us cannot properly access the healthcare services needed, especially those who have chronic illnesses.
In the long term, agile and flexible companies will adapt and survive the changes, reinvent themselves, and stay in business.
However, for the interim period while companies and individuals do reduced levels of business, that means a reduction in taxation paid, taxation that contributes to such things as healthcare, which will now find itself squeezed, financially, even harder.
How do you think that people’s access to medical care will be affected by this new virus?
Coronavirus cases in significant numbers will put an additional strain on already weak national health systems. That can weaken the health system in treating routine and regular medical needs of the public. So, it may reach the point where minor ailments will no longer be treatable at state hospitals in an already overstretched, poorly funded health system, as they will have been overrun with the consequences of the virus.
As always, the older, the immunodeficient people will be particularly affected. Those who have suffered from long-term health issues will pay the highest price (of course, the topics of preventive medicine also counts here, because being healthy means much more than just the absence of any illness).
The “chronically ill patients”, those who are now old and sick, will not be able to wait until the pandemic is over. Additional newly arriving patients who require attention for cardiac disease, cancer, kidney failure, etc, will still continue to add up. Many of them will now have to turn to private providers for medical help and treatment. This, however, is also not a viable solution as the private medical providers will also soon be placed under pressure from patients who are unable to obtain assistance from their national healthcare system.
Private medical providers will have to offer a service to their many subscribers who have an arrangement with them (membership). These arrangements were never properly priced, and for sure were not priced for a tidal wave of claims. The „ Membership” was always sold at a price intended to beat the competition. In this reality, very soon, medical providers will prefer the “privately funded patient.” The ones who pay cash. The medical providers call it FFS. (Fee For Service).
If your treatment is being paid for, you will become a source of “financial oxygen” for the private medical providers. Patients who will appear at a clinic with a private health insurance policy will become a “preferred” customer.
Taking into consideration all of the recent events concerning the pandemic and the economic effect, what is your advice for „him you and I” to take care of our health?
For the many years I have been in this position, it has always been my hope that the state would encourage the private health insurance industry to grow and flourish. That would probably enable the private healthcare industry to grow as well, which would reduce the pressure placed on a weak national healthcare system. As this is still not happening, it may now be too late to fix this for the current emergency.
For now, it is important to concentrate on illness prevention, and have private health insurance. Have your essential annual checkup, and use our available team of healthcare specialists who are ready to help you whenever you have a problem with your health.
MediHelp provides its members with access to innovative applications like My Digital Doctor and the Second Opinion service.
My Digital Doctor is a medical application that provides users with medical assistance over the phone or via a video call, at any time and anywhere around the globe, from a team of expert physicians. Ultimately, this means that to seek medical help, you don’t always have to leave your home, making life easier and safer for you at a time when you need the minimum of stress and inconvenience.
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