The Israeli Health Ministry has ordered a crackdown on the four public health funds that have been making members’ data available to commercial enterprises, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
The Ministry called a halt to “improper marketing tactics,” including furnishing personal information to firms who paid for their lists and giving preferential treatment to members who have shown interest in switching to a competing health fund.
In a directive sent Wednesday to the health fund directors-general, Rachel Topper Haver-Tov, the ministry’s deputy director-general in charge of health fund supervision, said that giving out addresses to third parties violates existing privacy rules. In addition, the health funds are prohibited from sending emails, text messages or letters for marketing purposes to their members.
As recipients of from health taxes and the state, the funds cannot engage in commercial activities.
The directive was prompted by numerous complaints from people about getting various commercial offers they didn’t request.
The Ministry also said that creating VIP services for customers who threaten to change health funds is illegal. All members should enjoy optimal service and not only those who threaten to switch.