Healthcare is in the policy spotlight in Southeast Asia, and indeed, in Asia generally. Demand for healthcare in the region is rising rapidly. Increasing populations and increasing affluence are but two of the reasons. People in Southeast Asia are demanding better provision and better quality. The World Health Organization states that health expenditure per capita in ASEAN is around 4 percent of GDP; that’s pretty low. The OECD average, in comparison, is around 12 percent.
In terms of public healthcare, spending is generally low in ASEAN, apart from in Thailand and Brunei. The public healthcare environment is therefore developing and being increasingly sidestepped by a rapidly growing private. Indonesia is the latest country to put universal healthcare at center stage; where currently 125 million plus are lacking state health coverage, or state or private health insurance. Indonesia health care sector remains undeveloped compared to neighbouring countries. Health expenditure was only 2.9% of the country gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, lagging behind Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The government is set to introduce basic universal health coverage from 1st January 2014, to provide 140 million Indonesians with health coverage: it aims to have truly universal coverage by 2019.
Asia-Pacific per capita healthcare expenditure is assessed to increase by 4.8 percent across the region by 2018 and Indonesia is expected to scale per capita expenditure from $109 to $237 in 2018, representing a year on year growth of close to 14 percent.
Within the region, Indonesia and Philippines have the highest shortage of beds and are targets for hospital operator expansions. About 4.2 Million new beds will be needed over next decade to meet the healthcare demand in APAC; more than 40% of that is expected to come from private sector. Indonesia private hospitals will continue to expand, estimated that more than 35,000 new beds could be added in Indonesia by 2020 to capture the substantial base of affluent medical tourists that travel to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand for treatment.