How To Keep Your Health Insurance Costs Low In Indonesia

If you are living and working in Indonesia, you will not be eligible for the national health insurance scheme, and you will only be able to access the public health system under your own private cover, or by paying up front out of pocket. Even then, the public scheme is limited, as it is overstretched and suffers from overcrowding and restricted facilities. This is particularly the case in rural areas, whereas you should be able to access public clinics and hospitals easily enough in more urban areas, such as Jakarta. Some expats choose to travel elsewhere for their healthcare needs. They therefore sort out their insurance before travelling to Indonesia – for certain types of visa, this is actually compulsory. We will look at some of your options regarding health insurance below.

Personalising your health insurance cover

You may wish to check with your employer whether you are covered under a group health insurance package – this will be a private scheme, but is worth considering depending on what is covered.

Your other option is to pay out of pocket for expenses. This is worthwhile if you have only minor medical issues – an appointment with a private GP in Indonesia does not cost a great deal – but costs can escalate rapidly if you have a chronic condition or need to see a specialist, or if you have to spend a night or more in hospital. Most expats resident in Indonesia take out private cover.

You may wish to check with your employer in Indonesia whether you are covered under a group health insurance package.
Selectable options

Check the small print of any private health insurance policy to see whether it covers treatments that you may want to access, such as specialist surgical treatment or more advanced dental care.

Remember to check whether your potential policy covers pre-existing conditions, the definitions for which will vary between insurers. Usually the term applies to any conditions that present symptoms or for which you’ve been treated in the last five years. This normally includes any conditions you were diagnosed with over five years ago, but some insurers have different time limits for when the diagnosis must have happened.

You may want to check whether your policy has a ‘hospitalisation’ clause covering you for occasional hospital visits. You may need to discuss this directly with your insurer. You may also wish to check whether there is a medical evacuation clause – it is common for expats resident in Indonesia to seek treatment in neighbouring countries such as Singapore, or to return to their home nation for healthcare.

Take a good look at any potential policy for any cover relating to healthcare that does not apply to you. Some policies have provision for maternity care, for instance, and if you are not intending to become pregnant, then you may wish to reduce your policy costs by having such options removed.

Cost sharing

You may also be able to reduce the cost of your premium through ‘cost sharing.’ This means that you and your insurer will share the costs of any treatment. You will pay up to an agreed limit, and your provider will cover the rest. Different insurers will have different ways of arranging cost sharing:

Co-pay

This is where you pay a fixed sum for your treatment and your insurer covers the rest. For instance, if the total cost of your treatment is €85, and your co-pay amount is set at €40, then you will pay €40 and your insurer will pay €45.

Co-insurance

This is where you pay a fixed percentage of the total cost and your insurer covers the rest. For instance, if your coinsurance is set at 20%, you will pay 20% of €85 and your insurer will cover the remaining 80%.

Deductibles

This is where you pay the entire amount allowed for all services provided until the deductible is met. For instance, if your policy has a €1,000 annual deductible, you would pay €85 for each visit to your healthcare clinic and then, once you have had 11 such appointments, your insurance will begin to pay out to the doctor directly.

You may also need to look at whether there is an out-of-pocket maximum that you would be expected to pay after your deductible has been met. Let’s say that your plan above, with a €1000 deductible, also has a co-insurance option of 20% and an out-of-pocket maximum of €1500. In this instance, you would pay €85 for 11 visits to the doctor under your deductible until it is met. You will then pay €17 for each visit as your 20% coinsurance, until you reach the co-insurance ceiling of €500 (€1,500 minus the deductible of €1,000). At that point, you would pay nothing more for the remainder of the plan year.

You may be able to reduce the cost of your premium in Indonesia through ‘cost sharing,’ which is where you and your insurer share the costs of any treatment.

It is worth doing the maths, especially if you don’t think that you’ll need to make more than a couple of visits to your GP in any one policy period. For example, if you just want dental check-ups with an occasional filling, it might be worth working out whether one or two out-of-pocket costs might be cheaper than full dental cover.

As so many variables have an effect on the cost of international private medical insurance, it is very difficult to give an accurate estimate of how much this might cost you, without knowing the full details of what coverage you require. However, as a very rough guide, using a standard profile of a 40-year-old British male with no deductibles, no co-insurance, a middle tier plan/product, all modules included and worldwide coverage excluding the US, a ballpark price of around £4,000/$5,000 might be expected. If you want your coverage to include the US, the premium could increase to almost double this amount.

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