National Health Insurance Failure

The government has finally admitted a fundamental problem with BPJS Kesehatan, its much-taunted social health insurance that was launched back in 2014: it has failed to collect enough premiums from its subscribers to keep it running smoothly.  Many Indonesians often skip paying their BPJS Kesehatan premiums until they actually get sick. Those who pay their premiums regularly — including company employees and poor families subsidized by the governments — do so at a level far lower than required to sustain the system. This happened because the government was at first reluctant to put too much burden on ordinary Indonesians to keep the system alive. Conversely, it was also a strategy to rein in the amount of subsidy for the poor. But the insurance has proved to be popular among Indonesians and unpaid medical bills have been piling up over the years. To cut a long story short, BPJS Kesehatan has been in the red since its inception. The government has now agreed that the insurance premium should be set at a more realistic level next year, which could be between 50 percent and 83 percent higher than the current premium. “[We] need to pay more attention to purchasing strategy for the payment system, the synergy between the insurance providers and on keeping the operational expenses under control. [We] also need to strengthen the contribution from regional governments,” Sri Mulyani said. (Jakarta Globe)