Japanese Public Health Insurance

Overview of Japanese public health insurance system

A Public Health Insurance is an insurance system managed by the government, to enable the insureds to secure medical expenses, which can be too expensive to prepare by themselves.
All Japanese residents are supposed to be covered by the Japanese public health insurance system and to join one of the plans implemented in the system. It means all Japanese residents are required to pay the insurance premiums. So, the premiums are regarded as a kind of public dues.

Actually, the Japanese public insurance system is far from a simple mutual-aid system. The national government contributes enormous money to the system. A certain portion of the premiums borne by the insureds of a plan for the younger people are diverted for the expenses of another plan for elder people. Therefore, the insureds hardly feel the premiums are used for themselves, although the government has introduced some mechanisms to promote a sense of the ownership of the insureds.

There are following 3 major plans in the Japanese public insurance system:

[In Japanese]

実際のところ、日本の公的健康保険制度は、単なる加入者の相互扶助の仕組みとはいえません。 国はこの保険システムに対して莫大な資金拠出を行っています。また、若年者向けの保険制度の加入者が負担した保険料の一部が、高齢者向けの制度のために流用されることとされています。そのようなことから、加入者にとっては、自らの支払う保険料が自らのために活用されているとは実感しにくいのです。政府は、加入者の公的健康保険制度に対する当事者意識を涵養しようと、いくつかの仕掛けを盛り込んだりしていますが、捗々しい効果があがっているとは言えません。