Health insurance in Japan is generally provided through their universal health care system. Medical insurance in Japan is free, and all Japanese citizens and non-citizens staying in Japan longer than a year are required to enroll in the health insurance plan. Health insurance in Japan covers roughly 70% of medical costs, but students studying in Japan will have to pay about 30% of their healthcare costs out of their own pockets.
Medical insurance in Japan varies according to several variables; these include whether the person in question is visiting, working, or studying, their age, and other important factors. Medical insurance in Japan is divided into two categories: the Employees' Health Insurance and the National Health Insurance, a community-based system. Japanese citizens and non-citizens residing in Japan for longer than a year are required to be enrolled in one of these schemes. Monthly costs are generally based on salaries, and coverage for medical costs varies with each scheme.
This scheme generally applies to people who work in private schools, in the national and local government, and in medium or large companies. According to this scheme, employers provide their employees with health insurance in Japan, and the premiums are based upon the monthly salary of the person in question. The monthly premium is taken directly out of the person's salary.
Non-Japanese citizens staying in Japan for over a year but who are not covered by Employees' Health Insurance are required by law to apply for National Health Insurance, or NHI. This applies to the self-employed and the unemployed.
Non-Japanese citizens applying for National Health Insurance in Japan must produce their Alien Registration Card.
They must also do this when joining an employees' insurance scheme, going back to the country of their birth,
moving to another town or city, or changing their name or address.
Non-Japanese citizens are required by law to apply for medical insurance in Japan upon their arrival. If there is a delay in their application, they may have to make payments for past insurance fees due. To apply for health insurance in Japan, registered aliens should put in their application at the National Health Insurance section of the municipal office in their area of residency.
Some medical treatments are not covered by National Health Insurance or Employees' Health Insurance. These treatments include some pre-natal care, deliveries and pregnancy terminations, voluntary vaccinations, orthodontics, and health check-up exams. For this reason, many non-Japanese citizens choose to take out private health insurance in Japan from a private provider. Those staying for fewer than twelve months may also need to apply for private health insurance in Japan. The Atlas Travel plan is a popular private health insurance option that can be purchased for the exact length of time in Japan.
The cost of the National Health Insurance varies according to the insured person's area of residency. In the 23 wards within Tokyo, the monthly fee in 2010 for people who did not need to pay a metropolitan residents tax was 3,325 yen. People with an annual income less than a certain amount may get a 70% or 50% or 20% reduction on their insurance fee.