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Pregnancy: health insurance? 2019/11/7 19:41
Hello! Can anyone please clear my mind about how much financial help I get in Japan for pregnancy? (Neither me, nor the father is Japanese.)

I have a feeling like two informations say completely the contrary of each other.

One website says: 'Pregnancy is not covered under general health insurance in Japan. (...) To provide financial support to families, Japan offers gmaternity vouchersh (DYwNfp⏕, ninsanpu-hoken-hiyō-hojoken) to expectant mothers.'

Another one is talking about childcare leave and maternity leave allowances from the health insurance and the labour insurance agency...

Can anyone please make it clear for me?

Thanks a lot!

by Lolo (guest)  

Re: Pregnancy: health insurance? 2019/11/8 09:20
Those are two separate thing.

The first one is basically for everyone (expecting mother) and in addition to vouchers or coupons for clinical visit, you will also be given a birth allowance gift to cover delivery cost. You'll need to register your pregnancy with your city hall.

The second one is more of labor matters, so you should talk to your HR department for the arrangement.
by @.. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Pregnancy: health insurance? 2019/11/8 09:25
Congratulations!

And you are correct, in general pregnancy isn't covered by the national health insurance. The government, knowing that is insane, instead provides expectant mothers with coupons that make the cost of prenatal visits either severely reduced in cost or flat out free during the pregnancy, and then give a set amount of money (420000 yen or thereabouts) for the birth. The amount the coupons cover differs slightly depending on where you live I believe.

When you are about 6 to 8 weeks pregnant, you would visit a clinic or hospital where they will do an ultrasound to check the baby's heartbeat. They'll provide you with a form you would then take to city hall and "register" the pregnancy. At that time, you'll be given a "boushi teccho" book which provides a place to keep a record of the pregnancy, and the coupons. Depending on your city hall, you might receive other benefits as well.

Then you'd use those coupons at all prenatal visits. In a regular, uncomplicated pregnancy, those will completely or mostly cover the cost of your care. You'll pay for that initial visit that checked the heartbeat, and then any extra things you ask for (I often asked for ultrasound pictures, so the cost was generally +2000 yen when I did). If a complication should arise in the pregnancy, it may or may not be covered by NHI depending on what it is.

When you give birth, depending on the hospital you will either need to pay out of pocket and then apply for reimbursement from city hall, OR some hospitals allow you to sign a form that allows them to apply for it on your behalf so you only pay any additional amount over. Just as an example, I gave birth in August and as I signed that form, I only paid for the room+board for 5 days in the hospital (the standard amount of time spent in the hospital after an uncomplicated birth).

When it comes to maternity leave, that's something you need to address with your company first and foremost. I don't have any experience with those, so I can't help there.

Finally, some cities give a gift of money to parents after the birth of a child, and you will also receive kodomo teate money from the city as well. So you'll want to go in and talk at city hall so find out what all you're entitled to as the gift money differs from city to city (for example, my city only gives monetary gifts for the 3rd child on), and how to apply for those things.
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: Pregnancy: health insurance? 2019/11/8 17:30
Thank you, both of you, for the quick and helpful replies!

Second replyer: you said you have no experience about the maternity leave. Is it because you weren't employed anywhere before and during your pregnancy? I'm asking it because it might be the same with me.

It's strange though: the ones who have a job and their workplaces cover a big part of their expenses, plus they get these vouchers and all, they basically don't have to pay for anything...?

Another question: what happens if I don't go to the doctor and do the registration between the 6th and 8th week, but much later? Could it cause any problems? I'm asking it because we're not in Japan yet, and I'm not pregnant yet, but we're planning to move and start a new life there in 2 years and I have to consider all possibilities, like I might be pregnant then.

Thank you in advance for your replies!
by Lolo888 rate this post as useful

Re: Pregnancy: health insurance? 2019/11/8 19:53
Yup, I have no experience with maternity leave because both times I was on a spousal visa working a number of part-time jobs instead of one full-time job, so I didn't qualify for any sort of maternity leave.

But as far as the vouchers and the birth stipend are concerned, those aren't related to your job at all but rather to the city you're registered as a resident in. You'll get them as long as you are paying into the healthcare system, whether on your own, through your job, or as a dependent of someone with a full-time job whose employer also pays for spouses.

If you don't go to the doctor and complete the registration, you don't get the vouchers and therefore will need to pay for any prenatal care out of pocket until you do register the pregnancy. So most people do it between 6 and 8 weeks when the heartbeat can be detected.

Something to remember when you start this process is to find the hospital that you'd like to give birth in as soon as you know you're pregnant or if you're already pregnant before coming to Japan, as soon as you get here. It seems early, but the more popular or famous hospitals can "fill up"; as in, if you're receiving your prenatal care through them or a clinic that feeds into them, they will accept you when it comes time for your birth no matter what. But they don't feel an obligation to accept you if you aren't receiving your care there, and unlike in other countries, hospitals in Japan CAN refuse care.

And since you're not actually here yet and you may not be aware, if you are in a larger city, childcare also fills up extremely quickly. You'll want to get on the waiting list if you're planning at all to go back to work while the child is still young; some people are on the list for years. This isn't my experience at all, so it definitely depends on where you're living, but just another thing to look out for and to keep in mind so you aren't caught unawares!
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: Pregnancy: health insurance? 2019/11/8 21:34
the system is extremely complicated. but, all you have to know is that you join pension and health insurance. either you or your husband (or both) works in full-time in a good company, and pay taxes. then, everything works well. your (or/and your husband's) company and Japanese co-workers, city-office staff, and clinic staff will tell you what you have to do and what is the best for you.
therefore, most of Japanese don't concern what they have to do when pregnant.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

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