Japan is known for its high-quality healthcare system, which is ranked among the best in the world. As an expat living in Japan, it is important to understand the health insurance requirements and options available. In this article, we will explore the health insurance requirements in Japan, the state health insurance system, how to apply for it, and the advantages of international private medical insurance.
Is Health Insurance Mandatory in Japan?
Yes, health insurance is mandatory for residents of Japan. All residents, including expats, are required to enroll in the national health insurance system or have coverage through their employer.
State Health Insurance System in Japan
The state health insurance system in Japan is called the National Health Insurance (NHI) system. The NHI system is a public insurance program that provides affordable healthcare coverage to all residents of Japan, regardless of age, nationality, or income.
What does it cover?
The NHI system covers a wide range of healthcare services, including medical consultations, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, prescription drugs, and preventive care. The system also covers maternity care, dental care, and some long-term care services.
How to Apply for National Health Insurance in Japan
Expats living in Japan can enroll in the National Health Insurance system by following these steps:
Obtain a residence card: Expats must obtain a residence card, which serves as their identification card in Japan.
Register at the local government office: Expats must register at their local government office (city hall) within 14 days of arrival in Japan. They will need to provide their residence card and fill out an application form for National Health Insurance.
Receive notification: Once the application has been processed, expats will receive a notification of their National Health Insurance enrollment.
Pay premiums: National Health Insurance premiums are based on income and are paid monthly. Expats will receive a bill for their premiums each month.
Advantages of International Private Medical Insurance
While the National Health Insurance system in Japan offers comprehensive healthcare coverage, expats may still consider purchasing international private medical insurance for several reasons:
Coverage for medical treatment outside of Japan
International private medical insurance can provide coverage for medical treatment outside of Japan, which may be necessary for expats who travel frequently or have medical conditions that require treatment outside of the country.
More comprehensive coverage
International private medical insurance can offer more comprehensive coverage than the NHI system, including coverage for elective procedures, alternative therapies, and treatments not covered by the NHI system.
Access to private healthcare facilities
International private medical insurance can provide access to private healthcare facilities, which may offer shorter wait times and more personalized care.
Many international private medical insurance providers offer English-speaking assistance, which can be helpful for expats who are not fluent in Japanese.
Health insurance is mandatory for residents of Japan, including expats. The National Health Insurance system in Japan provides comprehensive healthcare coverage to all residents, but expats may still consider purchasing international private medical insurance for additional coverage and benefits. Expats living in Japan should enroll in the National Health Insurance system by registering at their local government office and paying their monthly premiums. They should also research insurance providers and compare plans to find the one that best meets their needs.