National Health Insurance
You must sign up for the National Health Insurance plan at the municipal or ward office.
(1) What is National Health Insurance?
Japan’s National Health Insurance is a system under which the national government, local governments and individuals share medical expenses incurred in cases of illness or injury, so that individuals can feel free to consult health care professionals without worrying about excessive fees. International students are required to enroll in the National Health Insurance plan, as are Japanese citizens, in their municipality or ward of residence. If you belong to the plan, you will only be required to pay 30% of the total cost of treatment for illnesses or injuries. You will be free of worry about paying overly high medical costs.
(2) Enrollment procedures
You can enroll in the health insurance plan at the municipal or ward office in your municipality or ward of residence (where you are registered as a resident). Please do this when you submit a Moving-in Notification (“ten-nyu todoke”). When you enroll, you must show your Residence Card (“zairyu card”, the card replacing the Certificate of Alien Registration [“gaikokujin toroku shomeisho”]). After completing the procedure, you will receive a National Health Insurance card (“hokensho”). Please be absolutely sure to bring this card with you whenever you go to the doctor or hospital.
(3) Insurance payments
Insurance payment amounts differ depending on the municipality or ward. The higher your income, the higher the amount will be. International students who had no income in Japan in the previous fiscal year can apply for reduction of their insurance payments. If they meet the requirements, their annual payment will be reduced to approximately 10,000 yen per year (in the case of Hachioji City.) People who had incomes below a certain level may apply for reductions as well. When applying for reductions, it is necessary to report your income for the preceding fiscal year (scholarships do not count as income). For detailed information on how to apply for a reduction, please visit the appropriate section of your municipal or ward office. Please note that it is necessary to apply for a reduction anew every year.
(4) Change of residence
If you move to a different municipality or ward, you must return your Health Insurance Card to the municipality or ward you have been living in, and enroll in the National Health Insurance plan again in your new municipality or ward of residence.