While Indonesia’s citizens are struggling with difficult economic conditions, the country’s federal government has decided to increase the premium of the National Health Insurance Program (JKN).
The increase, which will come into effect starting 1 July, is set to take place even after the archipelagic nation’s apex court revoked the increment of the national health insurance premium in March.
Head of Public Relations for the program M Iqbal Anas Ma’ruf told Kompas on Wednesday (13 May) that President Joko Widodo assented to the decision, as the premium collected has not been sufficient to finance the program.
Previously, it was reported that the president has signed a new regulation on 5 May, titled Presidential Regulation Number 64 of 2020 on health insurance.
The newly approved legislation will come into effect on 1 July.
The new regulation raises the monthly premium for the first-class service and second-class service to almost 50 per cent and 99 per cent respectively.
As for the third-class service, the government will subsidise 16 per cent of the premium.
It also stipulates that the increment will only apply to informal workers who pay their premium independently, and not for formal workers whose premium is paid by a company through a cost-sharing structure.
Meanwhile, the previous regulation — Presidential Regulation Number 75 of 2019 — doubled the initial premium for all class services and was rendered valid for all citizens.
One of the reasons why the Supreme Court decided to revoke the Number 75 regulation on 31 March was that the deficit in the Social Security Fund was considered a result of mismanagement and poor implementation of the JKN program by the managing body.
|BPJS Services||Initial Premium||Previous Regulation||New Regulation|
|Effective||until 31 Dec 2019 &|
1 Apr ~ 30 Jun 2020
|1 Jan ~ 31 Mar 2020||from 1 Jul 2020|
Is it the right time to increase JKN premium?
Advocacy Coordinator of BPJS Watch Timboel Siregar warned that the new regulation will be a burden to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for informal workers whom he considered to struggle the most in this economy.
“The community has been struggling [in this economy] and now they will suffer more,” he told Detik on Wednesday.
Under these conditions, he suggested that the government should strengthen the people’s purchasing power rather than weakening it as a result of raising the premium.
“The government must have run out of [solid] reasons that it raises the premium without considering the economic capacity of the community.
“Meanwhile, Article 38 of the new regulation stated that the increment must consider the people’s [financial] capacity,” he said.
He also pointed out the unsatisfactory service levels of BPJS Kesehatan during COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mr Siregar, there are many cases where members of the insurance scheme did not receive what they are entitled to.
“The management should have improved their services before increasing the premiums,” he noted.