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Working Holiday - Health Insurance 2009/10/27 01:49
Hi, sorry I haven't managed to find the answer to this elsewhere..

I'm planning a working holiday now and haven't bought health insurance yet.

Is 'travel insurance' suitable or do I need health insurance as is sold to expats in Japan?

I'm in the UK. I had a quick look at travel insurance and found some at 17500yen for 5 months. If I manage to cover costs quite well then I will stay for near to the full years allowance.

Please could someone recommend a health insurance provider, if travel insurance isn't suitable.

Thanks.
by cissehands  

kokumin kenko hoken 2009/10/27 14:51
I recommend joining the National Health Insurance system (kokumin kenko hoken- it is actually required by law that you do so anyway). As you will spend less than a year in Japan it will only cost you around 2,000 yen a month (it gets more expensive from the second year), and 70% of your medical bills and dental treatments are covered.

You sign up for it at the city or ward office where you will get your alien registration card. It's a good idea to get ordinary travel insurance to cover the first 2 weeks or so until you are able to visit your municipal office to apply.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

op 2009/10/28 06:57
I see, then the answer is really simple.. maybe they should put this somewhere on the japan-guide website.

Thanks.
by cissehands rate this post as useful

op 2009/10/29 20:44
Hold on a minute....

I have to pay 30% of medical expenses?

Paying 30% of medical expenses could easily be too much if I'm involved in an accident.

Are you sure I need this National Insurance when only in Japan on a Working Holiday Visa.

Surely people take out more insurance on top of this... what are the insurance plans which are designed to work with this National Insurance?

Perhaps travel insurance is actually more appropriate.. it'll cover me much better if I have to pay expensive medical bills. Are you sure I'm required to take their 70%?
by cissehands rate this post as useful

op 2009/10/29 21:08
Residents are required to take kokumin kenko hoken..

and going on a working holiday visa means I'm still primarily based in the UK. Would I really be considered a resident?

A comprehensive private plan really seems better than kokumin kenko hoken, if I can avoid it.. and as I said above, kokumin kenko hoken alone doesn't cover me enough.
by cissehands rate this post as useful

legally required 2009/10/29 22:31
Everyone in Japan on a visa other than a tourist visa is considered a resident for tax and insurance purposes-that includes working holiday visas.

This is the insurance that pretty much everyone in Japan has, or is legally supposed to have. As of next year people will have to show proof of being enrolled when they renew their visas, which you will be doing if you want to stay longer than 6 months. It's up to you, but as I said, it's a legal requirement. If you are really concerned about the 30%, you can look into top-up plans- most of the expat health insurance companies now have them.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

op 2009/10/29 22:56
To me, it seems very sensible to be concerned about the 30%.. and also, some of my family members would be quite annoyed if I gambled on the chance that I'll be able to pay for 30% of whatever happens.

I will search for some expat companies that provide a top up plan.


Coming from the UK, I might be wrong but I think the limit is automatically 12 months (no 6 month renewal).
by cissehands rate this post as useful

not eligible 2009/10/30 04:53
you are not eligible for the national health insurance plan on a working holiday visa. they will not insure you. i know because i tried.

you're not really considered a resident of japan on a working holiday visa, and the national health insurance plan requires that you have permission to be in japan for over 1 year to be eligible for it.

this might make some australians eligible for it if they are lucky, however a sharp NHI person will not insure them because working holiday visas have to be renewed every 6 months.

student visa holders are generally eligible because the visas are valid for 1year+3 months.
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

I got it... 2009/10/30 08:14
Winterwolf, I signed up for National Health when I arrived in Japan on a working holiday visa, and was given it no problems. City offices sometimes give conflicting information on these issues- like government employees the world over, often no-one seems to know what the rules are.

Cissehands, it's worth looking into this a bit further (I bet you will find more info if you Google "health insurance working holiday visa Japan" or similar, but if you aren't happy with the 70% contribution (remember the insurance only costs about 2,000 yen a month for the first year, you might want to look at an expat health insurance plan- again, a Google will bring up lots of info for you.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

no idea.. 2009/10/30 08:30
Hehehe.. I think I'm a bit too familiar with what the first handful of pages keep showing me when I search.. I also tried using different words for my search.


I've emailed the japanese embassy in the UK, asking for their advice.
by cissehands rate this post as useful

"cissehands" .... 2009/10/30 11:25
.... see, that's what you should have done first! The embassy should be able to give you a correct answer.

Elsewise, I can only agree what others have said: get the national health insurance - I am sure it is still cheaper than what you pay in the UK now?!?!

And if you want to have more coverage - get something like AFLAC, AHD and whatever names those companies have. They run cheap, too and you will be fully insured. Just keep one thing in mind: most of those insurance companies require that you are capable of reading and writing Japanese!
by kulachan rate this post as useful

language issues 2009/10/30 11:53
kulachan, that's why I suggested the expat health insurance companies- there are plenty of them.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/10/30 13:00
How much is the deductible for that insurance you found for 17,500?

With NHI, you pay 30% of medical expenses but there's a cap on how much you have to pay in a single month. The cap is something like 80,000 yen. It's really not that bad for the first year when your premiums are 2,000-3,000 yen a month.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

op 2009/10/30 21:00
.... see, that's what you should have done first! The embassy should be able to give you a correct answer.

yep.. I would have called them in the first place if I'd thought this could happen.. but I guessed it'd be a lot easier to find the answer.


uh, the thing I found for 17500 wasn't one of the cheaper options.. and I can't remember what they'd want me to pay if I made a claim. I think insurance meant for expats in japan would be better than that.

yeah I'm sure the NHI is fine for price, I don't think it's expensive. I'd still like cover for more than 70% though, because even with the 80,000 a month cap on payments.. I don't know if I could handle paying that for very long.. I don't think anyone in my family would be able to help me out with money. maybe my girlfriends family could give me a loan but I wouldnt like to rely on that.
by cissehands rate this post as useful

NHI 2009/10/30 23:59
apparently Sira got it but I think she was one of those lucky people that slipped through the cracks. On the actual NHI website it lists the conditions and working holiday holders are not eligible under those conditions.

So, give it a go for the NHI when you get to Japan but have an alternative option if they decline to insure you, because they aren't supposed to and if they do it's just luck. I'd be a little worried about the validity of the policy if something major happened and attracted a lot of attention to it too, stuff besides basic doctor checkups.
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

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