Soaring Medical Expense Brings Difficulties for Underprivileged People to Receive Treatment

The increasing medical expense from 10 to 11 percent per year is not comparable to the relatively low wages of employees. As a result, it is difficult for underprivileged people to get proper health services caused by financial problems.

Medical check up by the Humanity Medical Service.
Illustration. Medical check up by the Humanity Medical Service team to the underprivileged people. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – “Health is expensive”, the term is commonly used by Indonesian people when health access is still not accessible to everyone, especially the underprivileged people. One of them is Nurmah (72). She said that she wanted to get her leg checked by the doctor. When the Aksi Cepat Tanggap team visited her, Nurmah did seem to have difficulty walking. She would stop her step now and then just to give a little message to her sore leg.

“I want to see the doctor and check my leg, but I don’t have the money. Let alone going to the doctor, it’s already difficult for me to afford food. It can’t be only IDR10 to 20 thousand to see the doctor right?” said Nurmah.

When she was asked why she didn't go to the community health center to receive cheaper health services, Nurmah explains that she doesn't have the required files to receive treatment at the community health center. In her old days, it’s understandable that Nurmah didn't know the administration process to receive medical service in this era. Moreover, she only lives by herself and doesn’t have a child. Therefore, she doesn’t have anyone to accompany her to receive medical service.

Nurmah is not the only one. Other underprivileged people are also in difficulties receiving health services. Their income is not enough to balance the soaring medical costs. This has also been recognized by the government. Last March, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated that in 2021, the cost of health is increasing faster than economic growth.

However, this high cost of health is also not in line with improving public health. "So sometimes we ask whether the money spent by individuals or the state is not to increase the people’s health but to pay for medicines, hospitals, and doctors. We need to see its productivity," said Budi.

Based on the results of a survey entitled 2021 Global Medical Trends Survey conducted by global consulting company Willis Towers Watson, there will be an increase in health costs up to 12 percent in 2021. In line with this survey, Lifepal in its research results also stated that every year, the increase of health costs in Indonesia always far exceeds the inflation rate. This means the health costs increase is higher than the prices of other necessities.

In the research, Lifepal also calculates the ratio of the health costs increase, with the percentage of the total average wages of workers or employees in Indonesia. As a result, the average net salary increase for workers or employees per year is only 4.3 percent. The percentage of this increase is considered to be incompatible with the increase in health costs, which reached 10 to 11 percent each year.

This is certainly burdensome for the workers. With their mediocre salary, getting proper health services is quite difficult. This is because their income must also be used to support their daily needs for their simple family.[]