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View Diary: Uninsured in Japan: a medical trip report (10 comments)

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  •  It wasn't a mandate when I last renewed my visa. (0+ / 0-)

    And yes, I do have a visa. (I'm kind of hurt that you would suggest I'm here illegally) No one seemed to care at the hospital, though. My foreign registration card was enough for them.

    I was told by another expat friend of mine that it is now required that if you weren't under the insurance plan before this mandate kicked in, they make you pay 2 years worth of backpay into it. Is that just a rumor, then? I'm currently underemployed and there's no way I'd be able to afford that, so between that and the rarity in which I get sick (honestly this is the first thing I've caught in over 2 years), I've been putting it off.

    •  sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that you were (1+ / 0-)
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      doing something bad, just pointing out that you would have to have a visa(somewhat obviously) to get the coverage. I can't speak to the actual particulars of the law, but when I got here in 1998 the town office sent me bill for my medical insurance as soon as I registered my visa status(as required) at the city hall. They have continued to send the bill and it is adjusted around twice a year according to my income. I lost my job last year and then finally(after 15 years) made my commitment to my wife a legal affair by getting married at the town hall. Now we are both on the same insurance plan(she is a Japanese national) I don't know about the backpay thing, I have never heard anything like that, but I was required to pay into the system in 1998 and I do not believe that the mandate is something new. My Japanese friend finally signed himself up after being off the roles for most of his adult life and he did not suffer any penalties. My other close friend(also a Japanese national) told me that in general those government agencies are actually quite helpful and if you plead poverty they work to defer costs. It's probably worth the risk to go and talk to someone about it.

      •  weird. (0+ / 0-)

        Here in Osaka, neither me nor any of my friends were required to sign up - between my main circle of friends, that's 8 or 9 visas worth of no mandates. A friend who just recently, like 2 months ago or so, renewed finally was told to sign up for insurance or she couldn't get a renewal - she's also the one I heard the backpay thing from. As far as any of us have heard, the mandate for foreigners is pretty recent. Of course, depending on where the person is from, I've heard a slew of conflicting info from Japanese folks about things, so I usually go about my business until someone in authority tells me to stop, apologize and move on. :)

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