Foreigners get nod to skip social insurance

Posted on 3rd March 2010 by Trevor in Blog

Everybody needs health insurance, especially when they live and work abroad. However, insurance systems in foreign countries are often difficult to understand without native language proficiency and difficult to explain to foreign employees whose reference points are often the completely different schemes they are used to in their home countries. By taking on Private healthcare insurance you can save money and provide 100% worldwide coverage.  We are happy to provide a competitive quote from at least 3 providers.

Here for both employees and employers, we introduce a short guide to health insurance options available to foreign workers resident in Japan.

Foreigners get nod to skip social insurance;

Social Insurance (Shakai Hoken)

  • Not everyone is eligible to join.
  • Application is made via employer.
  • Monthly premiums are salary linked and deducted directly from employee’s paycheck.
  • Employers pay an equal contribution each month.
  • Must also join the Employees’ Pension Insurance scheme.
  • Members of this scheme pay 30% of their medical costs, covering sickness, injury and necessary dental work.

National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken)

  • All foreign residents with a valid visa, allowing them to stay in Japan for a year or more, can join.
  • The scheme is open to people who are not employed (expectant mothers, students, retirees, etc.)
  • Premiums are calculated on a yearly basis (April – March) based on the insured person’s resident tax, property owned and number of dependents. Social and National Health Insurance premiums are based on salary.
  • Premiums can be paid by bank transfer or at the local ward or city office.
  • Primary members and their dependents pay 30% for inpatient or outpatient costs.

Private Health Insurance

  • Private health insurance in Japan is open to all nationalities and their dependents, regardless of their visa status and employment contract.
  • Private health insurance premiums are age-related and operate in a series of age brackets.
  • Premiums are usually paid by credit card, bank check or bank transfer.
  • The amount of deductible (the cost of treatment the insured individual must pay) can be tailored to the insured person’s needs.
  • Plans cover in-patient and outpatient treatment as well as dental treatment.
  • 100% Coverage is worldwide.

Points to Consider


  •  Private health insurance typically covers not only medical treatment in Japan but provides worldwide coverage, which is really important for frequent travelers.
  • Teacher Healthcare Special Rates for teachers!

 To find out more on Private health insurance with 100% cover contact us at Banner Japan for complete assistance. 03 5724 5100

Good news! FreeChoice petitioned against the Immigration Bureau guideline linking social insurance to visa renewal – and we’ve won! The fruits of our labors together have been realized. Guideline No. 8 has been officially deleted as of today, March 3, 2010. The newly revised (showing seven instead of the present eight) guidelines is now posted on the Ministry of Justice’s website.

While the Immigration Bureau will continue to require non-permanent residents to present an insurance card at the visa application window, not doing so will cause no negative effect whatsoever upon an individual’s visa renewal. (The guideline never applied to permanent residents; as previously, they are not required to present an insurance card at all.) Although Immigration will encourage enrollment in Japan’s social system by distributing brochures, individual offices and officers are “forbidden” to pressure anyone to join. In fact, the new guidelines state clearly that “enrollment in the social system will in no way be tied to visa renewal.” Additionally, the Ministry of Justice will set up a new hotline to field complaints from visa applicants who feel that they were in any way pressured or coerced to enroll.

The Japan Times, Daily Yomiuri, and other media have yet to report that the guideline ‘was’ (past tense) deleted. It would seem that Free Choice has the jump on the news – again. That’s because, due to your invaluable support, we ARE the news! The foreign community united together in standing up to the bureaucracy and our voices were heard. We at the Free Choice Foundation would once again like to express our heartfelt thanks to you for your participation in this important issue.

To download the new guidelines, please go here:

As you can see, No. 8 is gone!

If you want private health insurance that has 100% cover click here

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