Getting to Know the Basics of the Japanese Health Insurance

It is a requirement for those who reside in Japan.

Japan prides itself for having one of the best medical care in the world. Therefore, it’s no surprise why Japanese people have one of the longest lifespans in the world. Medical care, however, doesn’t come cheap in the country, and health insurance is definitely a necessity. There are basically two types of health insurance in Japan, the public (national) and the private (owned by corporations) health insurance.

Health Insurance is a requirement for residents in Japan. It guarantees its holders access to medical care in the event of falling ill, sustaining injuries, and more, at a discounted price.

The insurance covers typical medical concerns such as high-cost medical care expenses, transfer expenses, injury and illness benefits, lump-sum birth and childbirth allowance, and even the medical expenses of dependents.

The percentage of payment differs depending on the insurance holder’s age and income, but usually it is 30%. This also includes medicines and drugs that come along with the treatment as long as it is prescribed by a physician. Failing to possess medical insurance will require one to pay a hefty sum for medical costs, and might cause problems in renewing visas.

There are generally two types of health insurance in Japan: 

  • National Health Insurance

This health insurance is for those who are legal residents in Japan, and are not enrolled in an
Employee’s Health Insurance. They are required to enroll in the National Health Insurance. The premium is shouldered by the resident and is calculated according to factors such as the resident’s annual income and the number of people in the household. If the resident is between 40 and 65 years of age, they are required to pay the premium for nursing insurance as well. 


  • Employee’s Health Insurance

For legal residents who are employed, companies are obliged to provide them a private health insurance policy. The premium for the insurance depends on factors such as salary, and a portion of this is shouldered by the company.

Residents are able to use their health insurance at any hospital that accepts health insurance. As long as a resident is enrolled in one, they are eligible to access medical care at a discounted price. To do this, you must simply present your health insurance card at the reception counter of the clinic or hospital.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

 (03 April 2020)

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