コラム

Insurance for Foreigners in Japan

Among the foreigners who have moved into Japan, many are worried about the solution to sickness and accident.

If you have not joined any insurance plan, you’ll be shocked by the hospital bills if you are sick or have accident, the expense for medication could be as much as millions yen.

Therefore, to prevent not getting into this situation, the solution will be “join the insurance plan”. In below post, a few insurance plans applied in Japan will be introduced for your reference.

1. Social Insurance

To cover the medication expense, there are 2 types of insurance provided in Japan: Health Insurance and National Health Insurance.

(1) Health Insurance

The health insurance is mainly for those who are in employment, if the employer or his family members get sick or get hurt, this insurance can be used.

To join the health insurance plan, the application has to be from the owner of the company.

All companies are required to join the insurance plan, and if you own the business, based on the number of employees as well as the type of industry, there are mandatory insurance plan and optional insurance plan to choose from.

The amount of insurance is based on the income of the insured, and the employer should pay half of the total amount.

You may get advice from your company or from the National Health Insurance Committee regarding your health insurance plan.

The health insurance is one part of the social insurance plan which includes the health insurance, nursing insurance, welfare pension, work accident insurance, and employment insurance.

These insurances are different in purpose and scope of application, please refer to the attached table.

PlansPurposePayment
Health Insurancemedication50% by staff, 50% by company
Nursing InsuranceProvide nursing service for the seniors50% by staff, 50% by company; the second insured pay all
Welfare PensionSocial guarantee50% by staff, 50% by company
Work Accident InsuranceGuarantee if accident happens at workAll by company
Employment insuranceProvided upon unemployment or trainingCompany pay most, staff pay rest

Workers employed by employers who have to provide health insurance are all insured regardless of the nationality, gender, or age, except for workers who is not compulsory to buy the health insurance.

Even in the case of a foreign worker, if the employee employed at the company to which the health insurance is applied and if he/she is working under exactly the same employment conditions as the Japanese employees, then he/she must join the health insurance (+ welfare pension plan).

<Conditions to join the social insurance>

PlanStandardAge LimitationException
Health InsuranceFull-time employment or part-time employment with more than ¾ working hours based on full-time employment. If the above condition cannot be met, for companies with more than 501 employees, all 4 conditions per below need to be met. More than 20 working hours/weekWork agreement for more than 1 yearMonthly salary more than 88,000JPYNot student  Legal working age – 75 years oldTemporary employees, day job, or part-time job for less than 2 months
Nursing InsuranceThe same s health insurance(No.2 insured) 40 yrs – 65 yrs (No.1 insured) above 65 yrsNon resident, ect.
Welfare PensionThe same s health insuranceLegal working age – 70 years oldTemporary employees, day job, or part-time job for less than 2 months
Work Accident InsuranceAll employees need to joinNo limitation 
Employment insuranceMore than 20 working hours/week Work agreement for more than 31 daysNo limitationStudent day workers. Ect.

* Remarks of health insurance

(a) Some foreign employees say that they want to get only the health insurance but not the welfare pension. In principle, the two plans work as one set, there is no way to choose just one. (unless those who are covered by Social Security Agreements.)

In case of drop-off from welfare pension, by applying the “Withdrawal Lump-sum payment system (described in the Employees’ Pension Insurance), the pension payment can be covered.

The lump-sum withdrawal payment is the amount of insurance paid to foreigners who live in Japan for a short period of time and join the Japanese pension system (national pension, welfare pension, mutual aid association) for more than 6 months before returning home. It is a system that refunds a certain amount according to the plan, and it is a system designed to prevent the premium from being discarded. For details, please refer to the Japan Pension Service website.

https://www.nenkin.go.jp/service/jukyu/sonota-kyufu/dattai-ichiji/20150406.html

(b) If a foreigner has joined a social security system similar to health insurance in their home country, the insurance premium will be double-paid in Japan and in their home country.
 The “Social Security Agreement” is to prevent this. The content varies depending on the partner countries, but there is no problem for foreigners to join the system either in their home country or in Japan.

If you hire a foreigner, check with social security system of the employees’ home country to avoid double enrollment.

(2) National Health Insurance

National health insurance is for people who work as self-employed or work at small companies, this plan is managed by the local municipal.

If you are not enrolled in health insurance and have been registered as foreigner, you are required to join the National Health Insurance and pay the insurance premium.

However, national health insurance does not apply to short-term resident.

For National Health Insurance, please contact the National Health Insurance counter of each municipality for more details.

<Procedures to join national health insurance>

If you want to join the National Health Insurance, please complete the procedure within 14 days from the date of entry, the date of transfer or the date of disqualification of the health insurance you have been enrolled (the day after your retirement date).

The procedures can be done by the same person or by the same household on the resident’s card. (A proxy is required when the procedure is performed by another household)

◎ Necessary documents (in addition to regular notification)

Residence card

Designation form (for those whose status of residence is “Designated Activity”)

Designation form is attached to the passport

<Conditions to join the plan>

Foreign nationals with a residence of more than 3 months are required to join National Health Insurance except of the following.

  • Those who do not have a residence status such as illegal stay
  • Those whose residence status is “Short-term stay”
  • Those whose residence status is “Diplomatic”
  • Those who have a status of residence of “designated activities” and “Activities to receive medical care” or “Activities to receive daily care”
  • Among those whose status of residence is “Designated activities”, “One who is 18 years old or older for tourism, recreation and other similar activities” or “A spouse who accompanies the person”
  • Those with a period of stay of 3 months or less

*Even if the period of stay is 3 months or less, if the status of residence is “Entertaining”, “Technical training”, “Family”, or “Diplomatic”, they can join the plan once the stay extends to more than 3 months.

  • Those who are covered by the social security agreement including medical insurance and who have received the social insurance participation certificate (application certificate) from the government of the home country.
  • Those who have health insurance at work and their dependents
  • Those who are 75 years or older (subject to the medical system for the elderly)
  • Person who receives life support

(1)The benefit of both social insurances

2. The benefits of joining social insurance for foreigners

First of all, the big merit is that the medical expenses at the hospital will be deducted by 70% (70%-90% off depending on age and other conditions).


As no none knows when he’ll get sick or injured even though he is healthy now, even if you’re careful, there’s still chance that you’ll be involved in an accident, that’s why the health insurance is needed to avoid risks.

(2) Benefits of health insurance

The family dependents of the insured are covered by the social insurance system.

Up until recent, it was possible to support a family living abroad as a social insurance dependent if the family’s income proof and facts of remittance are submitted. However as implemented on April 2020, the new requirement for family dependents has been added to the certification criteria for social insurance support, social insurance beneficiary is limited to residents of Japan only.

The main relatives recognized as “dependents” are:

・Spouse (including factual marriage, annual income less than 1.3 million yen)

・Children/parents (60 years or older or person with disabilities receive annual income of less than 1.8 million yen) Brothers and sisters (annual income of less than 1.3 million yen), etc.
Each of the above has other detailed income requirements, the application is only accepted when all requirements are met.

3. Commercial Insurance (medical insurance)

The below are insurance systems operated by private companies, and the enrollment conditions are more difficult than the above insurance.

However, it is still possible for foreigners to join medical insurance plan through these Japanese insurance company.

(1) Conditions for foreigners to join Japanese medical insurance

・Resident in Japan

You must currently reside in Japan and have a residence card and special permanent resident certificate, and being registered as foreigner.

・Be able to read and write Japanese

This is of course necessary to read and write Japanese in order to fill out the contract as well as for understanding the understanding the content of the contract properly. If you don’t understand the contract you are signing, you will not be able to join the plan.

・Have a Japanese bank account

This is because it is used for withdrawing medical insurance premiums.

Even if you are a foreigner, you will need an account at a Japanese bank to receive your salary, pay rent, and utilities. 

However, opening a bank account in Japan is a little difficult for foreigners, and there are often restrictions on opening an account.

Depending on the bank, it is not possible to open an account for a temporary stay of 90 days or for those with a long-stay visa of 90 days or more, but have stayed in Japan less than 6 months. 

When a foreigner opens an account at a bank to join medical insurance, it is recommended to confirm the conditions in advance with the bank.

(2) Medical insurance for foreigners who have temporary stay

“AXA Direct Life Insurance”

Global brand and world ranking No. 1

It is an insurance company that many Japanese people are using.

・A thorough study via website

You can consider the plan carefully by comparing the products as you want.

Rich knowledge and information for consideration, and you might be convinced and assured by the guarantee plan.

・Free consultation about health concerns

Customers can easily receive health consultations by phone calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even when your child suddenly has a fever.

Also, if you get sick, you will receive a second opinion on how to treat from a specialist.

“Life Net Insurance”

An insurance company whose strength is that you can join at a reasonable price.

It has won 1st place in 2019 by Japanese price comparison sites.

・A simple lineup of death insurance, medical insurance, cancer insurance, and disability insurance

・If you are in trouble and cannot receive insurance and benefits immediately. Life Net will make bank transfer within 5 business days generally and for special case within 2 days upon reception of the documents. The company is making every effort to ensure there are no omissions.

“VIVAVIDA”

VIVAVIDA! is a medical and life insurance plan for foreigners living in Japan and foreigners staying in Japan for work or travel.

They have multiple language respond to Japanese, English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese, etc. A wide range of support is provided.

Plans like “Warranty for 1 day” and various plans are available.

4. Summery

In this way, foreigners also benefit from an insurance system with the same treatment as Japanese.

First of all, it is important to make sure that your employer can get health insurance.

If your employer has joined the health insurance, there are many people who are fully protected in case of emergency, in that case the importance of medical insurance will drop accordingly.

After that, you may consider whether or not to join commercial insurance.

Those who stay in Japan for more than 3 months will have more options, so please choose an insurance plan that suits your status best.

 
コラム一覧へ

同じカテゴリーの記事を読む

記事一覧へ 

ビザ・外国人雇用に関するご相談はお気軽にご相談ください!

0120-138-552

お問い合わせ

24時間ご相談受付中

サイトロゴ