From the ancient volcanoes of Bali to the cultural hub of Jakarta, the islands around Indonesia are a diverse place to live and work. So, if you’re planning on relocating, it’s important to understand the healthcare system as it differs from its Western counterparts.
Consisting of around 17,000 islands (many of which are uninhabited), the healthcare sector is split into private and public. The former is of noticeably higher quality, which is reflected in the price. In the public sector, the Indonesian government has implemented a universal healthcare plan, the JKN (Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional, more commonly known as the BPJS Kesehatan or BPJS Ketenagakerjaan). However, uptake has been slow and medical resources on the islands are scarce. Many of the region’s medical institutions are equipped with basic supplies and treatment facilities only. Most hospitals don’t meet Western standards and often require proof of insurance or an upfront payment. Many companies provide medical assistance to their employees in the form of health plans, but it is not a legal requirement.
Most Western governments recommend comprehensive medical insurance for expats wishing to relocate to Indonesia. Coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation is a often viewed as a must, as complex surgeries and emergencies may be performed in neighbouring countries.
The following sections discuss the Indonesian healthcare system in more detail and provide information about private coverage for expats looking to relocate.
The JKN (Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional), more commonly known as the BPJS Kesehatan or BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, is Indonesia’s national health programme. As a member of the BPJS, medical treatment is available for free or for a small charge. The system is in its infancy and is funded by national taxation.
Below public hospitals sit the community health centres, known as ‘puskesmas’. Pukesmas are the primary health providers in many rural areas, often accompanied by the ‘posyandu’, an integrated health service for the most at risk. There are two kinds of Puskesmas, those with beds and those without. Puskesmas are often stretched to their limit.
Indonesia does not currently have a nationwide emergency service; private ambulance services are available but are limited to the larger cities and may not be reliable in urgent situations.
Public healthcare coverage has seen vast improvements over the last 10 years. However, many of the public hospitals and clinics have yet to reach Western standards of medical care. In the main cities, such as Jakarta, Surabaya or Bandung, you will find some adequate facilities close to Western standards. However, the long waiting times, absence of English-speaking professionals and an overall lack of medical personnel make the public system undesirable for many expats. Equally, the private system has its limits. For many medical emergencies and complex surgical procedures, patients are evacuated to a nearby country.
As a result, non-natives and more affluent natives opt for private health insurance with extensive coverage.
As a non-native, you will pay for your medical care, whether it’s in a public or private facility. Since 2018, expats are eligible for coverage by the BPJS (Indonesia’s public health plan) if they have a residency or work permit for a duration of 6 months or more. Many working expats obtain comprehensive health insurance from their employers. So, if you are relocating for work, check with your employer first to see if their policy is sufficient.
A large majority of expats and natives have some level of private coverage to avoid paying the higher fees of private hospitals.
The public health insurance, more commonly known as the BPJS Kesehatan or BPJS Ketenagakerjaan, offers basic healthcare and is comprised of the public health sector and select parts of the private sector. Under this programme, medical care is either free or subsidised. It is available to expats who possess a residency or work permit for a duration of 6 months or more. Public health facilities are modest in comparison to their Western counterparts. Consequently, many expats and natives find themselves taking out private coverage to access private medical institutions in main cities or neighbouring countries.
At present, Indonesia does not have a fully realised medical emergency service. If you have a medical emergency, you can dial 118 for assistance. However, there are significant delays as some areas are poorly serviced by ambulances. Some prefer to take a taxi to nearby ER facilities or use a private ambulance service if they are in a big city. In some cases, medical emergencies and complex surgeries have to be performed in nearby countries, so you may have to be medically evacuated.
The community health centres, or puskesmas, offer affordable aid to those on lower income. There are an estimated 12,000 puskesmas across Indonesia providing basic healthcare. They are the primary health providers in many rural areas. The puskesmas are staffed with a medical doctor, dentist, midwife, nurse and other community health professionals and volunteers.
The posyandu is a community-based integrated health-post serving the most vulnerable members of the community. They primarily aid women and children in need of immunisations, nutrition, counselling and family planning. Many expats take out private medical insurance and opt to use private health clinics because of the notably better standard of care and access to English-speaking medical staff.
Called ‘apotik’, pharmacies are common in larger cities and are often found inside shopping complexes and malls. In rural areas, they can be found in the local health centre but are far less common. Medicines can also be delivered to different outlets via online pharmacies. Expats may find some medications readily available to buy without a prescription and that brand names for certain medicines are likely to differ. A good idea would be to take note of your medication’s generic name to avoid complications.
Indonesia has strict controls regarding medical substances and has banned many medications that are readily available in English-speaking countries. Before relocating, speak with your doctor and check with the Indonesian customs authority about medications that you plan to bring with you. Often, prescriptions are mandatory for you to bring medication into the country.
There can be large discrepancies in the cost of generic and patented medicines. Some expat websites have reported that prices could be up to ten times higher for patented medicine. There has also been some doubt about the effectiveness of certain generic medicines, despite regulatory authorities stating otherwise. Expats should consult their local doctor about pharmacy recommendations and access to medicines.
In more rural parts of Indonesia, it might be difficult to get the right standard of urgent treatment locally. In some cases, the islands of Indonesia may not have the specialist equipment and facilities required to treat you in an emergency. In both instances, evacuation and repatriation services can provide a means of transport to wherever is needed, ranging from a taxi or a private ambulance, to a flight or an air ambulance.
To avoid paying, potentially, tens of thousands of pounds for a medical evacuation service, private health insurance can help to cover the cost.
Many expats take out private coverage because of the inadequacies of the public health system and the risk of medical evacuation to neighbouring countries for more complex procedures and emergencies.
When you’re planning on changing countries for the foreseeable future, healthcare can be a real concern. With our dedicated team providing 24/7 support, we won’t let those worries hold you back. A new life in Indonesia, made simple.
Whether you’re working in the heart of Bekasi or searching for the perfect family home in Sudirman, we’ll cover you for any period between 3 and 11 months. Our short-term international health plan will also cover medical evacuation and repatriation, for peace of mind in Indonesia.
Renowned for its incredible wildlife, stunning architecture and historic landmarks, Indonesia is like none other. Take the first step today with comprehensive health cover tailored to you.
Finding a trusted doctor in the sprawling Indonesian archipelago can be a challenge. So, until you’re settled, talk with one of our experienced virtual doctors instead. Available by phone or video consultation, day and night. 1
Although some procedures need to be performed in nearby countries, don’t worry, our team is ready to arrange evacuation and repatriation services
Once we’ve received all the correct information, around 80% of all eligible claims are paid within 48 hours. So, you can get back to discovering one of the most diverse places in the world.2
In Indonesia’s emerging medical system, it makes sense to be prepared. We offer a range of international health plans, which include dental and medical scans (CT, PET, MRI) as standard.
Despite the vibrant beauty of Indonesia, a new life can take some getting used to. But don’t worry, our qualified professionals are available via our dedicated Mind Health service. 3
With so many new things to see and do, it isn’t always easy to find what you need. So, for the moments when you’re just not sure where to turn next, you can get an independent second medical opinion from the experts. 4
Retiring to the beaches of Bali or relocating for a new role in Jakarta, we’re here to support you. Here are some examples of who we help:
With extensive coverage plans that include eye tests, prescriptions and a range of outpatient services as standard, we take care of all the little things, so you can get back to business.
Designed for families of any size, we can help you with all aspects of the Indonesian healthcare system. We offer coverage that includes maternity and pregnancy benefits, routine and non-routine dental check-ups, vaccinations, asthma treatments and prescription glasses. Coverage when it matters.
Warm welcomes and even warmer days are all you’ll need to think about. Our plans include annual health check-ups, palliative care and disability compensation, giving your family peace of mind and the chance to enjoy your retirement to the fullest.
*Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm (GMT).
Calls may recorded and/or monitored for quality assurance, training and as a record of the conversation.
The Virtual Doctor, Mind Health and Second Medical Opinion services are provided by Teladoc Health.
Local insights have been provided by Oban International’s LIME (Local In-Market Expert) network’ - https://obaninternational.com/lime-network/
¹The Virtual Doctor service is provided by Teladoc Health. Appointments are subject to availability. You do not need to pay or claim for a consultation, but you will be charged for the cost of the initial phone call when using the call back service. You won’t be charged if you request a call back using the app or online portal. Telephone appointments are available 24/7/365 and call-backs are typically within 24 hours. Telephone appointments in Greek are available between 9am and 9pm EET, seven days a week. Video appointments in English, Spanish and Mandarin are available between 8am and midnight UK time, Monday to Friday. Video appointments in German are available between 8am and 8pm CET, Monday to Friday.
²80.5% of eligible claims submitted online between January 2022 and December 2022 were paid within 2 days
³Mind Health service is provided by Teladoc Health. This service provides you with access to six sessions with a psychologist, per mind health concern, per policy year. Mind Health psychologist appointments are available in English and Spanish between Monday and Friday, 09.00 - 17.30 (UK time).
⁴Second Medical Opinion service provided by Teladoc Health