Archipelago

Govt to provide universal
health coverage for all

The central government is preparing for the implementation of universal health coverage for all as mandated in the Social Security Providers (BPJS) Law and expects to have the law’s executing body established and operational by January 2014.

Deputy Health Minister Ali Ghufron Mukti said preparations for the health security system were expected to be completed this year to allow for the January 2014 launch. Once the policy was implemented, he said, every Indonesian citizen would have health insurance.

“We have prepared the road map,” Ali said in Yogyakarta on Thursday, after officially opening a regional symposium on universal health coverage and equity, which was also attended by delegates from Australia, Cameroon, India and Thailand.

He added that by having health insurance, people would be healthier and more productive so that, in turn, the country’s national development goals could also be achieved.

Ali said the enactment of the BPJS Law was aimed at fulfilling the basic need of all Indonesians to health care.

He added that the new BPJS system would replace the existing community health insurance (Jamkesmas), and that there would be a difference in how contributions would be paid.

With Jamkesmas, the insurance is fully paid by the government. With the BPJS system, the insurance holder and the company he/she works for will be obliged to pay 5 percent of the total insurance’s monthly premium of Rp 22,000 (US$2.297), with the holder contributing 2 percent and the employer paying the remaining 3 percent.

For the self-employed, such as traders, street vendors, pedicab drivers and so on, the proposed monthly premium is between Rp 40,000 and Rp 50,000.

Ali said that as of 2011, around 142 million or 63.12 percent of Indonesia’s total 237 million people had health insurance.

Separately, the director of India’s Universal Health Coverage Initiative, Priya Balassubramaniam, said during her presentation at the Yogyakarta symposium that low government spending on health was the main reason why many developing counties had yet to implement universal health coverage schemes.

“Historical underfunding and weak health care systems and capacities have been the key barriers to achieving universal health coverage,” she said.

She added that people’s health was a government responsibility and, therefore, government health budgets also needed to be increased.

“Central governments and provincial administrations should increase public expenditure on health from the current level of 1.2 percent of gross domestic product [GDP] to at least 2.5 percent or 3 percent,” she insisted.

Meanwhile, head of the Health Ministry’s research and development agency, Trihono, said the government would consider all the recommendations put forward at the symposium.

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