retirement planning

About Medical Insurance and Long-Term Care Insurance in Japan

As you get older, your hospital visits will probably become more frequent and you are likely to need nursing care in the future. Many of you may be worried about future medical and nursing care costs. This article provides an explanation of Japan's public medical insurance system and its long-term care insurance system.

Japan's Medical Insurance System

In Japan, since everyone is covered by some kind of public medical insurance, it seems natural to Japanese to be able to visit any medical facility using the same insurance card at any of them. The co-payment at the hospital is basically 30%, and the remaining 70% is covered by health insurance premiums.

For infants and the elderly, co-payments are reduced to 20% or 10%, depending on income. In addition, when medical expenses become very high, there is a high-cost medical care system under which co-payments that exceed a certain monthly amount will be refunded at a later date from the health insurance. In Japan, it is extremely rare for a person to go bankrupt due to high medical expenses.

Japan’s Long-Term Care Insurance System

Japan has a long-term care insurance for long-term care. Long-term care insurance premiums are payable from age 40 to 64 years old and are added to the regular health insurance premiums.

Long-term care insurance is used for long-term care services you may need for your future care. There are many services you can receive with long-term care insurance. For example, it can be used to pay for home healthcare services, outpatient services, and may be used for certain construction work, such as changing your toilet to a Western-style toilet or installing a handrail. Co-payments range from 10% to 30%, with the percentage depending on your income.
When you are in need of long-term care, you can receive services by getting a certification of needed long-term care. To be certified as requiring long-term care, you must first consult with your local comprehensive care center (“anshin sukoyaka center”) and then prepare the required documents.

The extent of services you are eligible for depends on the level of care you have been approved for. Your care manager will develop a plan of care, asking you what services you want to receive and how often you want to receive them.

Thus, in Japan, even if you become ill or need nursing care due to dementia or other illness, you can live without major financial concerns because your insurance will cover your expenses.

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