Yesterday I talked about one of the two ways to be covered by health insurance. Today I’d like to share with you the other way, and if you’re not a corporate employee or manage a business of your own, this is probably the only way you can enroll in health insurance. Also, if you’re currently unemployed and are not claimed as a dependant of someone with employee health insurance coverage or if you didn’t elect to have your employee health insurance coverage extended at the time of resignation from your previous company, this may be your only choice. This system is called National Health Insurance （国民健康保険）and you can enroll in this system through your municipal or local (used interchangeably) government office （市役所） that has jurisdiction over your residential area.
Your local government office usually has a designated section that deals with National Health Insurance and the receptionist should be able to direct you to the appropriate person to talk to. Although not wide spread yet, many local government offices are beginning to prepare English guidebooks for National Health Insurance system for non-Japanese residents in Japan. You may want to look into this if available.
Generally, the monthly premium you pay for this type of insurance is higher than the premium corporate employees pay for the type of insurance I introduced yesterday, but the reality is, the Japanese government doesn’t offer you a third choice (and this is the same for Japanese nationals in Japan too). But your out-of-pocket expense is reduced to 30% of the total cost so it’s better than being uninsured.
Thinking about working in Japan? Preparing to move overseas almost becomes a full-time job in the final weeks of your departure. Many people quit their jobs weeks before so they can devote their time to preparation. But what about your health insurance? Short-term health insurance plans are a great solution. ↓
Below are links to Certified Social Insurance and Labor Consultants providing services in English. Also below are useful links related to working in Japan and links to women balancing career and personal happiness. WJA realizes and promotes women's increasing value in the labor market.