Does health insurance program close the equality gap?: lesson learn from Indonesia

As health insurance can be effective in increasing access to health services, a number of countries have undertaken substantial expansions of their formal health insurance either as a voluntary or mandatory program. The mandatory health insurance program (Social Health Insurance – SHI) scheme has been introduced in many countries. Not only for high-income countries but also in low- and middle-income ones have been implemented the SHI (see, Barnighausen & Sauerborn 2002, for review).

This article takes advantage of the unique opportunity presented by the availability of the dataset-the IFLS- that brackets two policy interventions of health financing reform in Indonesia to address two issues: first, it investigates the changes of health insurance coverage between 1993 and 1997; second, it examines inequality in health insurance coverage over study periods. This article therefore will provide an evidence base of whether proposing a national SHI would be welfare enhancing in terms of fostering the memberships and reducing the equality gap of the insured.