Medical - 16. About the Insurance System | Lectures for Foreign Students on Disaster Control | JPSS, the information site of studying in Japan

Medical - 16. About the Insurance System | Lectures for Foreign Students on D...

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About the Insurance System

Sometimes there are people, foreign students for example, who don't go seeing a doctor even if one feels sick. There are two reasons for that; one comes from the uncertainty about the cost, the other is to save money. However, if you join the National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenkou Hoken) issued by the Japanese government, you only need to pay 30% of medical expenses. There are some discounts available for foreign students; therefore the monthly payment will be not that costly.

No one can assure that one never needs medical assistance. When living in a foreign country for one or two years, it is highly possible one to get sick due to the change in climate, eating habit or living environment. Moreover, injuries or accidents are things unpredictable. Not going to see a doctor immediately after getting sick will make one's condition worse, which not only makes one suffer more, but also will trouble other people.

It is a duty to apply for National Insurance, at the same time we could say that it is a right of the people coming from abroad. Please don't forget to apply for it, after arriving in Japan for the first time or if you change your address.

Japan has a compulsory insurance system which all those living in Japan must be covered by some form of public insurance. Foreign students are designed to apply for the "National Health Insurance". This system is administered by the municipalities. One may apply for it as soon as you register as an alien resident, and pay the monthly premium. If you join the NHI, you only need to pay 30% of the medical expenses at the hospital.

Who can apply for NHI?

Those who aren't covered by any system listed below may apply for NHI.

  • 1. other Social Insurance
  • 2. Livelihood protection
  • 3. Health Insurance Union
  • 4. Health Care System for the latter-stage elderly people

Foreigners that will live in Japan for 1 year or more must join. It is not possible to pay in full in case of illness, and to save money by not applying for NHI.

If your stay is less than one year, you can't apply for it.

How to apply?

You need to apply for NHI in 14 days after you register in the municipality you live. To apply, one must first register their residency. Moreover, if you resign your job or when you get a baby, you are required to apply for the NHI. If the application steps were delayed, you will be asked to pay the monthly premium from the day you started to live in that municipality, which means to pay a large amount at once.

Medical Expenses covered by NHI
  • - usual medical treatment, surgery, medical care
  • - charge for medicine
  • - charge for corset or plaster cast
  • - expenses for attending the patient (only when the doctor admits that it's needed)

Please keep in mind that the cases listed below will not be covered by NHI.

  • - amenity Bed Cost" when you get hospitalized in a private room
  • - in case you needed a special treatment or medicine
  • - special dental treatment such as golden crown
  • - childbirth
  • - abortion
  • - cosmetic surgery
  • - physical checkup
Discount in monthly premium

In case of foreign students, it is possible you to get some discounts in monthly premium. For, the insurance premium is calculated on a one-year basis, based on your previous year income in Japan. The calculation method is different in each municipality, so please check the detail in the public office where you live. In addition, to get the discount, you need an additional application. Please don't forget it when you apply for NHI.


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