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Expat Exchange - Do I need Health Insurance When Moving to Japan?
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Do I need Health Insurance When Moving to Japan?

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Summary: Is health insurance a requirement when you are moving to Japan? This article explores health insurance requirements for newcomers to Japan.

When moving to Japan as an expat or digital nomad, it's essential to understand the health insurance requirements that will apply to you upon arrival. Japan has a national health insurance system, and participation is mandatory for all residents, including foreigners who will be living in the country for more than three months. However, upon your initial arrival, you may not be immediately eligible for this public healthcare system. Therefore, it is crucial to have private health insurance to cover any medical needs during this initial period. The insurance should ideally provide comprehensive coverage that meets or exceeds the standards set by the Japanese government, including a sufficient minimum coverage amount and validity for the length of your stay until you can enroll in the national system.

Does Expat Health Insurance Meet the Requirements?

Most expat health insurance plans are designed to meet the requirements of various countries' healthcare systems for incoming residents. However, it is important to verify that your chosen expat health insurance plan is accepted in Japan and provides adequate coverage until you can join the national health insurance system. The plan should cover a range of medical services, including hospitalization, outpatient treatment, and possibly repatriation. It's advisable to check with the insurance provider to ensure that their coverage complies with Japanese regulations and that it will be recognized by local healthcare providers.

Which local health insurers offer this type of insurance?

In Japan, several local insurance companies offer health insurance plans that are suitable for expats and digital nomads during their initial stay. Major insurers such as Tokio Marine & Nichido, Sompo Japan, and MS&AD Insurance Group provide various health insurance products that cater to the needs of foreigners before they become eligible for the national health insurance. These companies are well-established in Japan and have a reputation for offering reliable insurance services. Their plans often include English-language support, which can be very helpful for newcomers who are not yet proficient in Japanese.

Advice from Expats in Japan about Health Insurance

Experienced expats in Japan often emphasize the importance of securing health insurance that offers comprehensive coverage from the moment you arrive. They advise new arrivals to thoroughly research and compare different insurance plans, focusing on the extent of coverage, the claims process, and customer service. It's also recommended to look for plans with direct billing arrangements, which can simplify the payment process for medical services. Additionally, understanding any exclusions or limitations of your policy is crucial to avoid unexpected expenses. Lastly, expats suggest that while cost is an important factor, the quality of coverage should not be compromised, as healthcare costs in Japan can be significant without adequate insurance.

Expats Talk about Health Insurance in Japan

"I have Social Health Insurance that my job helped set up for me. It's accepted pretty much everywhere as it's a public insurance. I have only needed to do something preventative, though, so I have only paid for medical service in its entirely before," said one expat who moved to Tokyo, Japan.

"My experience is that the national health insurance is great and easy to enroll in and easy to use. The insurance is reasonably priced and covers 70% of most medical needs. I have not had a problem with the healthcare system yet. I make sure to find an establishment that provides English support and everything is much smoother for me," mentioned one expat when asked about moving to Japan.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Tokyo Station

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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