Tue, 09 May 2000

Government drafts new bill on health care system

JAKARTA (JP): The government is drafting a bill that will assist implementation of a national system to cover health care costs for all levels of society.

Under the system, initiated in 1996, people will subscribe to a particular low cost health plan which guarantees them continued health care.

"It is like health insurance, only better," Widyastuti Wibisana, director for Managed Care at the Directorate General for Community Health, said here on Monday.

Widyastuti said the system will offer different programs with payments varying from Rp 1,200 to Rp 120,000 per month per person.

"We are aware that the rich will prefer more luxurious treatment, that's why we offer various programs," Widyastuti said.

However, people who subscribe to the minimum cost plan are guaranteed equal quality health service, Widyastuti said.

The system will be managed by an agency licensed by the government.

Widyastuti said the system is already popular here. Currently there are 21 health management agencies operating in Jakarta, West and East Java, and Riau.

According to Widyastuti there are 354 awaiting approval from the ministry.

Once enrolled, subscribers to the plan no longer have to worry about potential health costs, because everything, including doctor fees, prescriptions and hospital bills, will automatically be covered.

The system, despite getting little publicity is already very popular. Widyastuti estimates some 15.1 percent of the population is enrolled.

In a regular insurance system, Widyastuti argued, doctors are not encouraged to maintain the policy holder's health as the insurance company pays the costs of client treatment each time he is ill.

But under the new system, she said, "doctors are urged to maintain their clients' health because doctors will have to pay for client treatment because they have been paid in advance."

Widyastuti said that the system would use a family doctor care system to ensure doctors keep good records of their patients' medical histories.

She also said that the system will help curb quack doctors who extol money by having patients undergo unnecessary tests.

Widyastuti said there would not be preliminary health check- ups for anyone wishing to join the program.

However, she suggested people join in groups so the healthy can subsidize those who were sick.(08)