The OECD will publish on Thursday its annual data set regarding the health care systems of member countries. This statement summarizes a number of indicators that compare Israel with countries of the organization. Leading up to this publication, the Strategic and Economic Planning Authority has prepared a focused analysis containing many indicators. An emphasis was placed on data that reflect both the strengths and the weaknesses of the Israeli health care system as compared to OECD countries.
On 7-Sep-2010, Israel became a full member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). A new publication of the Ministry of Health, which will be published next week presents, as in the past, comparative data between member countries. The publication relates to a list of health indicators and additional social indicators. The publication was prepared by the Strategic and Economic Planning Authority of the Ministry of Health. The publication was prepared by Daniela Arieli, Nir Keidar and Dr. Tuvia Horev.
Below are the Main Findings:
Population and Health Status:
  • The population of Israel is young in comparison with other OECD member countries. The percentage of the population aged 65 and over is 10.0 percent in Israel, as compared to 15.4 percent which is the average in OECD countries.
  • The percentage of children under the age of 14 in Israel is 28.0, which is the second highest among OECD countries.
  • The ratio between the two above age groups (up to 14, and from 65 and over) and the remaining residents of Israel (aged 15-64) expresses what is known as the ‘dependency ratio’ – the ratio between the population of working age and the population that generally has more need for the social safety net. This ratio expresses the burden placed upon the population of working age. The dependency ratio in Israel is 61.8 percent – the highest among member countries.
  • Life expectancy in Israel is higher than the average in OECD countries – the average life expectancy for an Israel man is two and a half years longer than the average for men in OECD countries (79.9 in Israel, as compared to an average of 77.3), and is the fourth highest among member countries. For women, the difference is smaller, being approximately half a year (83.6 compared to 83.1). The life expectancy of women in Israel ranks in the 13th place among member countries.
    The infant mortality rate in Israel is lower than the average for member countries; in 2011, it was 3.5 deaths per thousand live births in Israel, as compared to an average of 4.0 in OECD member countries. The mortality rate in Israel is lower than in the USA and Britain, for example, but is higher than in Spain, Greece and Scandinavian countries. It should be emphasized that in this regard there are differences between population groups in Israel.
Infrastructure of the Health Care System
  • The general hospital bed rate in Israel is low relative to other member countries (only 2 countries are below Israel), and is approximately 1.9 beds per thousand population, as compared to an average of 3.4 in OECD member countries. Consequently, bed utilization in Israel is higher. This is reflected in such data as a relatively shorter hospital stay (4.3 days in Israel, OECD average 6.5) and relatively high occupancy rates (98 percent in Israel – the highest in the organization, as compared to an average of 77 percent in member countries). The OECD positively notes the high number of physicians per thousand population in Israel as compared to the OECD average – 3.3 versus 3.2 respectively). However, it is important to note that according to a Ministry of Health forecast, this is expected to drop to below the OECD average in the coming years, in contrast to the trend of increasing numbers of physicians per thousand population in member countries.
  • The number of nurses per thousand population is very low compared to OECD member countries; in 2011 it was 4.8, as compared to an average of 8.8 for OECD countries.
National Health Expenditure
  • National health expenditure in Israel as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is low compared to OECD countries, being 7.7 percent, as compared to an average of 9.3 percent in member countries.
  • Public expenditure (publicly funded) as a percentage of overall health expenditure is among the lowest in comparison to member countries. In 2011, it was only 60.8 percent in Israel, as compared to 72.7 percent in OECD member countries.
  • Inspection of the percentage of citizens with private health insurance shows that Israel ranks third in the organization as regards the level of private insurance holders (complementary insurance at the HMOs and commercial insurance policies), at 80 percent.