Indonesia: Government to Implement Universal Healthcare and Expand Healthcare Industry

The Indonesian government stepped up implementation of a multibillion dollar plan, proposed in late 2011, that would grant health insurance to all citizens beginning in 2014.

Under the current system, called Jamkesmas, only 64% of the Indonesian population has health insurance. The current system is entirely government funded and covers 76.4 million low-income families.

The new system, the Social Security Providers Law (called BPJS), will provide emergency, primary, and preventive care to the expected 100 million Indonesians who will qualify for the program. Unlike the existing system, contributions to BPJS will combine government and employer funds for those unable to pay. Wealthier citizens will be able to buy additional private insurance, although they must still contribute to the new public system.

This new health insurance plan is part of an overall effort by the Indonesian government to grow its healthcare industry. Currently, wealthier and foreign citizens desiring better healthcare travel to nearby Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore. To retain this business and grow its healthcare industry, Indonesia will have to improve its hospital network, which has a shocking six hospital beds and under three physicians per 10,000 people, compared to 30 beds and 24 physicians in the US. Indonesia plans to add 100,000 beds and hundreds of hospitals over the next eight years, expanding the healthcare industry to around US$50 billion from US$25 billion now. Such growth will demand thousands of new doctors, nurses, and technicians, and millions of dollars to be spent on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other hospital equipment.