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National Health Insurance(October,2008 )

The Japanese public health insurance system offers both “National Health Insurance” and “Employees’ Health Insurance” plans. Circumstances sometimes require that foreigners apply for one of these health insurance plans. This month’s column will focus on “National Health Insurance” (NHI). Once you become an NHI member, a premium will cover a portion of your medical fees. A lump-sum childbirth allowance and a burial allowance are also granted through NHI.


●Conditions for Enrollment                                                                                      

The conditions for becoming an NHI member are as follows. People in Japan on a short-term stay or those who overstay their visa can not apply for NHI. To apply:

You must be registered as a foreign resident with your local municipal office.

You must be recognized as having the possibility of living in Japan for a year or longer.                

*Most people working for Japanese companies receive “Employees’ Health Insurance” through their employer. Please ask your company for details.


●How to Apply                                                                                                       

Local municipal offices take care of NHI registration. Visit the Health Insurance Section in the municipal office where you registered your foreign status. Be sure to take your foreign registration card with you. You will be issued a health insurance card. This card is required when visiting any healthcare provider, so be careful not to lose it. If you move to a new residence, visit the closest municipal office to inform them of your change of address within 14 days.


●Coverage of Medical Expenses

Insured NHI members bear a portion of medical costs when they visit a doctor. Co-payment percentages vary depending on the age of the insured person.

Preschool-Age Children: bear 20% of medical fees; School-Age Children ~ 69 Year-Olds: bear 30% of medical fees; 70 Year-Olds and Up: bear 10% of medical fees (*As of April 2010, co-payments for this age group may increase to 20%; 30% if earning a fixed-income).

Note that the following medical treatments are not covered by NHI: normal childbirths, abortions for economic reasons, sterilization procedures, cosmetic surgery, general examinations, vaccinations, orthodontic treatment, etc.


●Payment of Insurance Premiums

Members are responsible for paying monthly insurance premiums. Payment statements are sent from the local municipal office by mail. Please have your statement handy when paying at designated financial institution or the post office.

*Reduction and Exemption Measure If an insured person is behind on payment, they may be stripped of their insurance card and/or have their heath insurance benefits dropped. For those who find it difficult to make payments on time – such as foreign students with little or no income – please consult with your local municipal office. In accordance with the reduction and exemption measure, insurance premiums may be curtailed given an individuals circumstances.


For more information about national health insurance, please contact your local municipal office.


If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact the Miyazaki International Foundation: (Phone) 0985-32-8457, (Fax) 0985-32-8512, or (E-mail) Thank you.

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