If you’re traveling anywhere in the world, you should always ALWAYS make sure you have your personal health insurance covered. This is mainly because if you ever have an medical emergency in a foreign land, you are covered, both your little behind and your wallet. That is why, many countries insist on their foreigners to have health insurance from their own insurance company or take a health insurance offered by their country.
In Japan, the goverment insists that all residents must enroll in a Japanese insurance program. Currently there are two main types of health insurance – “Social Insurance” (KENKO-HOKEN) and National Health Insurance (KOKUMIN-KENKO-HOKEN). Generally, social insurance are for use for employees in companies and National health insurance are used for students and the self-employed.
There are other types of insurance as well called the Mutual Aid Associations (KYOSAI KUMIAI), which cover most public service and private school employees. Under Japanese insurance, you are generally required to pay about 30% of the medical expenses incurred.
Foreigners who come to work in Japan has a choice in their health insurance though. Most of them opt for health insurance from their country of residence or they take up offers from private insurance companies in Japan.
There are some pointers to look out for as an Expat in Japan, here they are:
* Health insurance is mandatory when living in Japan for one year or longer.
* Contrary to popular rumors circulating among the GAIJIN community, foreigners ARE NOT automatically covered by National Health Insurance.
* As National Health Insurance premiums are based on your PREVIOUS year’s income, the first year of coverage is relatively cheap (you pay the minimum required premium).
You also need to be aware of the legitimacy of your Expatriate Healthcare program from your chosen insurance company. Here are some pointers for you to look up on an insurance company before deciding:
1. Underwriter of the product.
2. Standard and Poor’s rating.
3. Emergency Assistance Company.
4. Representative company of the product.
All of that information above needs to be on their website. If not, request a written documentation of the information above. It can save you a lot of trouble!
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