Japan Health System and Services

While the Japanese systems of insurance and health services regularly provide quality treatment, it can be confusing in some cases and not up to everybody's standards. With this in mind we provide some helpful information so you can better understand the ins and outs of the Japanese healthcare system.

Japan has a universal health system that is a mixture of public and private care. Services are provided through regional or national public hospitals as well as private hospitals and clinics. People may pick and choose their own medical practitioners at will, but should be warned that while there may be some western educated doctors, bed-side manner and ethics are not taught in Japanese medical schools and not every practitioner will speak English.

Fees for all kinds of medical treatments are set by the government, whether administered at a public or private medical facility. Travelers are not covered by Japanese public insurance and will have to pay high costs out of pocket for treatment if you do not have insurance.

The government has organized two types of public health insurance coverage for Japanese citizens and residents; national insurance and employer-based insurance (sometimes referred to as society-managed insurance). Employer-based insurance programs have their premiums based on the insured's salary and split the cost evenly between the employer and the employee. However, these plans also mandate a 20% deductible or co-payment on hospital bills and a 30% deductible on out-patient bills up to a ceiling, with some extra costs for some medications.

For people not eligible for employer-based insurance, national medical insurance plans are available where the government may take the part of the employer and pay half of the premium. In national insurance plans there is a 30% co-payment on all expenses. There is a separate program for the elderly which is almost completely covered by contributions from the other two schemes with a 10% deductible being born by the patient for all costs.

There are a few issues with the Japanese healthcare system which are becoming increasingly problematic. Japan 's population is growing increasingly older and combined with rising unemployment is pushing up the costs of covering the entire population. This may lead to increased rates of co-payment by individuals in the future. Space in medical facilities is becoming an issue in some regions. In 2007, over 14,000 emergency patients were rejected by hospitals more than three times before receiving treatment.

Should you require more information about medical insurance in Japan , or for a free quote on international medical insurance, please contact our team of experts today.

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