Expats and travelers heading to Indonesia will undoubtedly have many questions regarding how Indonesia’s healthcare system works, as well as whether private health insurance in Indonesia is necessary. This guide provides information about Indonesia, its healthcare system, tips to be aware of, and outlines the key benefits of securing health insurance in the country. Read on to discover more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, consisting of five major islands and over 17,000 inhabited and uninhabited islands. The country is best known for its magical national parks and a plethora of unique islands like Bali and the famous Gili islands. The total area of Indonesia is roughly 1,919,440 km2 of land and sea. The five main islands are:
- Sumatra (473,606 km2), the most fertile and densely populated of the islands,
- Java/Madura (132,107 km2);
- Kalimantan, which comprises two-thirds of the island of Borneo (539,460 km2);
- Sulawesi (189,216 km2); and
- Irian Jaya (421,981 km2).
The archipelago is located between two oceans - Pacific and the Indian Ocean - and bridges two continents, Asia and Australasia. Across the archipelago are high mountains, many of which are active volcanoes, as well as tropical rainforests, dense jungles, and swampy mangrove areas.
The public healthcare system in Indonesia
Historically, the Indonesian healthcare system was largely fragmented and made up of a mix of private insurance schemes for those who could afford it, basic state provision for the poorest, and NGOs that provided specialized healthcare in between. More so, basic healthcare was difficult to access for those living in rural areas and remote islands. Unfortunately, as the gap between urban and rural healthcare services grew, so did the inequality in the population.
To address this fragmented system and resolve the country’s healthcare inequality, the Indonesian government introduced Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional (JKN) in 2014, a country-wide public health insurance scheme to insure the country's citizens and residents, including 96 million poor individuals. The JKN scheme, which is managed by the Social Security Organizing Agency (Badan Pengelola Jaminan Kesehatan (BPJS)) provides cover for around 221 million people or roughly 82% of the entire population.
Access to the public health system for expats in Indonesia
If you are a foreign national or expat working in the country, your employer is obligated to register you and your family members (if any) in the scheme. To be eligible you must be working for at least 6 months, after which, you will receive a JKN/BPJS card. This card should be taken with you every time you visit one of Indonesia’s 2,000 hospitals, clinics, or Puskesmas (state-owned community health clinics).
How is the premium calculated for expats working in Indonesia?
The premium for the scheme starts at 5% of your monthly salary (1% paid by the employee and 4% by the employer). For expats on a standard payroll system, this premium will usually be deducted automatically from your monthly salary. The JKN scheme will cover you, your spouse, and up to 4 children under 21 years old. If your family is larger, you are given the option to add more dependent family members to the scheme but will have to pay 1% of your monthly salary per person.
What is the public healthcare system like?
As the JKN scheme is still developing and improving, the system has yet to resolve the ongoing health burdens most of the population experience. According to The Conversation, as of 2020, Indonesia’s national health insurance has been suffering an estimated deficit totaling IDR 28 trillion or around USD $1,998 million. With finances in a poor state and the country still battling cases of COVID-19, this has had implications on the healthcare services provided across the system.
Expats visiting public facilities will find that they are often overcrowded, understaffed, and underfunded. Even if an appointment is booked, it is unlikely that the medical professional will speak English, making medical consultations difficult to interpret and fully understand. As such, expats are also encouraged to secure comprehensive international health insurance coverage before moving to Indonesia.
The private healthcare system in Indonesia
In contrast to the public health system, expats are better off receiving healthcare at one of the country's private healthcare facilities. Medical professionals at these healthcare institutions are more likely to speak English and the level of care will generally be of a better standard, if not matching standards experienced at home. However, that’s not to say it’s entirely perfect as the capabilities of some private facilities in Indonesia may still be somewhat limited. Instead, expats may want to consider adding medical evacuation as a rider to their international health insurance plans.
Adding medical evacuation to your international health insurance plan
For complex medical procedures, it is important to consider evacuation to the nearest emergency facility in a neighboring country like Singapore, Malaysia, or Thailand. Discuss with an international health insurance broker, such as Pacific Prime, about medical evacuation plans to supplement international health insurance.
Indonesia travel, general, health and safety tips for expats and travelers
When traveling in Indonesia, it is important to understand and be aware of any local laws and customs that may be different from the ones that you are used to. To help you better enjoy your time in Indonesia, we have provided some information about various local laws and customs that you should be aware of during your time in the country.
General tips in Indonesia
- Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country. As such, many of the local laws and customs will reflect this. When visiting religious areas such as mosques and temples, you should act with respect.
- Most nationalities must have a visa to enter Indonesia. Visas are typically available on arrival, but will be time-specific. If you plan on staying in the country for a period longer than three months you should obtain a work or residence permit before your arrival.
Safety tips in Indonesia
- Do not use or supply illegal drugs during your time in Indonesia. Possession, distribution, and manufacture of narcotic substances are illegal, and if caught you could face a lengthy prison sentence or even a death sentence.
- Do not gamble while in Indonesia. Gambling is illegal throughout the country and is usually controlled by organized crime syndicates.
- Due to Indonesia’s location in Southeast Asia on the continental shelf, the country is prone to several natural disasters including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. In the event of a natural disaster, please follow all government directions and act accordingly.
Travel tips in Indonesia
- You must carry some form of identification on your person at all times. If asked by the Indonesian police, you must display identification, as failure to do so can result in a fine or custodial jail time. Photocopied passports are acceptable as a valid form of identification. Be reminded that you should carry your JKN card with you at all times in case you require emergency medical treatment at a local public hospital or facility.
- In the dry season, which is from May to November, forest fires can cause smoke. This results in air pollution across parts of Indonesia, especially the Riau Islands, central Sumatra, and Kalimantan. The smoke can disrupt air travel, and the pollution can harm your health.
Health tips in Indonesia
- There are several disease risks throughout the country including Malaria, Dengue fever, Anthrax, and hepatitis. These diseases are spread through a number of factors, however, their prevalence in the country can primarily be attributed to poor hygiene. Avoid eating foods from roadside stalls and make sure that all your drinks are sealed when brought to you.
- There have been reports of polio outbreaks in Java and Sumatra. It is advisable that you obtain a polio vaccine before visiting these areas.
- Rabies exists in wild and domestic animals in Indonesia. Street dogs are common. Avoid contact with all cats and dogs (including pets) and other animals, and find immediate medical attention if you’re scratched or bitten.
- For emergency medical assistance in Indonesia, dial 118 for an ambulance. Then contact your insurance company if you are taken to a hospital for treatment.
Note: Please be advised that the information above is not comprehensive and that the status of this information may change without warning. For the most up-to-date travel advice please contact a travel professional prior to departing on your trip.
Recommended vaccinations and medicines before traveling to Indonesia
According to the CDC, make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include:
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Yellow fever
Travel insurance for visitors to Indonesia
For travelers planning a trip to one of the many magical and exotic islands across the archipelago, you are encouraged to secure travel insurance or short-term health insurance to access private healthcare, if the worst happens. It is safer to secure a suitable plan that has appropriate benefits and limits.
Indonesia health insurance
With over two decades of extensive experience gained from supporting expats and travelers across the globe, Pacific Prime can assist with any of your Indonesia health insurance needs. By leveraging our close relationships with major health insurance companies, we can offer you professional advice, as well as a free plan comparison.
Cost of Indonesia health insurance
No matter what your budget is, or what your needs and requirements are, our professional consultants can match you with a policy that best fits you or your group. Our policies can also cover a wide range of health services, including dental, maternity, specialist consultation, health emergency transportation, inpatient services, and many more. The cost of plans varies from person to person, so getting in touch with a consultant will help you determine the available plans for you.
Worried about paying upfront?
There’s no need to fret, as our international health insurance plans can come with direct billing. More benefits like this can be requested by discussing with one of our in-house experts. Focus on your recovery and we will focus on the paperwork and process.
Can expats secure insurance for their family members in Indonesia?
Expatriates with family members can also secure international cover for the whole family. For international students or travelers in search of the best international health insurance or travel insurance, Pacific Prime is the go-to insurance brokerage for the best impartial advice and guidance.
Want to receive a health insurance quote in Indonesia? Contact us today for a free consultation!