National Health Insurance
The main social insurance systems for salaried workers in companies and factories in Japan are the Employees’ Health Insurance (KENKO HOKEN) (Government-managed type and the Society-managed type) as the health care insurance and the Employees’ Pension Insurance (KOSEI NENKIN HOKEN) as the pension insurance.
As for the self-employed workers and non-employed people, there are the National Health Insurance (KOKUMIN KENKO HOKEN) and the National Pension (KOKUMIN NENKIN).
Those who have an Alien Registration Certificate and who have obtained permission to live in Japan for at least one year, but who are not covered by the Health Insurance Program at a place of work(shakai hoken), are required to join the National Health Insurance Program (those with short-term visas are excluded).
If you initially obtained permission to live in Japan for one year or less but are expected to live in Japan for more than one year, you are required to join the National Health Insurance Program (those with short-term visas are excluded).
To enroll in the National Health Insurance Program, apply at the National Health Insurance and Pension Department (Hoken Nenkin-ka) of your ward office (the same office at which you obtained your Alien Registration Certificate). You must present your Alien Registration Certificate when you apply. If your permitted period of stay in Japan is less than 1 year, please present some form of documentation to prove that you will be staying in Japan for more than 1 year.
Insurance premiums are calculated on an annual basis from April to March the following year. The premiums are based on the number of enrolled members in the household and the amount of city and prefectural taxes paid in the previous year. The amount of municipal tax and the calculation method vary depending on each municipality.
A National Health Insurance Card is issued upon your application. This card identifies the insured person(s), so you should keep it in a safe place. You must present this card when seeking treatment at a hospital or clinic. It is a good idea to carry the card with you at all times.