National

HIV/AIDS patients demand
fair health treatment and
insurance

A number of patients suffering from HIV/AIDS have called for fair health treatment saying they have no access to the government-tailored national public health insurance scheme (Jamkesnas).

Based on government regulations, the Jamkesnas scheme does not cover health care for people with HIV/AIDS.

At a gathering between the management of Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar and HIV/AIDS patients, health adviser Rony shared his experience of accompanying a patient with HIV/AIDS, who failed to claim his health insurance because he was affected by the disease.

"The insurance company withdrew its health fund covering his treatment at a hospital knowing that he suffered from HIV/AIDS. The patient was very shocked," said Rony, an advisor at Kuta Community Health Center.

Putra, not his real name, said that if a person admitted he had HIV/AIDS, no insurance company, especially government-insurance schemes including Askes and Jamkesnas, would cover their health care costs.

"What should I say to get my health care covered by insurance? Putra asked.

Ida Ayu Miswahirati, head of the hospital's health care section, admitted that the majority of insurance companies did not cover health costs for people living with HIV/AIDS. She advised patients to mention health complications caused by HIV/AIDS such as Tuberculosis and other infections.

"This is one of the challenging problems in the Indonesian health care system, which does not include health schemes for people with HIV/AIDS," she explained.

She said many patients with HIV/AIDS came from low-income families and suggested they try and register with insurance schemes to help them access proper medication.

The doctor continued by explaining that Jamkesnas was part of an insurance scheme that covers health care costs for poor people. The insurance is a Health Ministry initiative.

"They *low-income* people may also obtain letters stating they are impoverished families from their provincial or regional authority to access medical facilities at public hospitals and community health centers," she said.

Jamkesnas covers health care for 74.6 million of Indonesia's low-income families.

-JP/Luh De Suriyani

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