JET Insurance

(taken from the JET General Information Handbook and Tokyo Orientation booklet)
JET participants are automatically enrolled in national social insurance (社会保険 shakai hoken) (1-3) and JET Accident Insurance:
  1. Employees' Health Insurance
  2. Welfare Pension
  3. Employment Insurance
  4. JET Accident Insurance

1. Employees' Health Insurance (健康保険 kenkou hoken)

In accordance with Japanese law, all JET participants are covered by the social health insurance policy provided by the Japan Health Insurance Association. Half of your premiums are paid by you and the other half by your contracting organization. You should receive an insurance card shortly after your arrival to your contracting organization. If you have any dependents with you, please ask your contracting organization to help you have them registered on your card. If you require medical treatment, take your card to a registered hospital or clinic. You will be presented with a bill and will be responsible for paying 30% of the treatment costs when you leave. Make sure you keep all of your receipts for the 30% as this can be claimed later (minus a 5,000 yen deductible) through the JET Accident Insurance (see below). Also note that the money you can claim after the deductible includes the cost of medicines prescribed by doctors.

Examples of treatment covered by this insurance:
  • medical examination
  • medicines or medical care supplies
  • emergency treatment, surgery
  • in-home medical care
  • hospitalization and nursing care
Examples of treatment NOT covered by this insurance:
  • preventative innoculations
  • unnecessary physical checkups
  • cosmetic surgery
  • unnecessary dental checkups or cleaning
  • unnecessary eye exams and eyewear
  • exams and checkups for normal (without complications) pregnancies

Workers' Accident Compensation Insurance (労災保険 rousai hoken)

Occupational sickness and injury are covered under the Workers' Accident Compensation Insurance System (労働者災害補償保険 roudousha saigai hoshou hoken or 労災 rosai for short), or insurance coverage in accordance with the ordinances of the contracting organization.

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2. Welfare Pension (厚生年金 kosei nenkin)

As required by law, payments to Pension Insurance will be deducted from your remuneration each month. You can receive pension after you pay in for 25 years, and you receive it when you reach age 65. The employer and employee each pay half of the premium. A portion of these payments can be claimed back upon leaving Japan at the end of your appointment.
Pension Blue Book: During your stay in Japan you will be given a blue pension book. Please do not lose this book as you cannot apply for your pension refund without it.

Pension Refund

For JETs leaving Japan, since you have made contributions for 6 months or more, you are entitled to a lump sum refund 堕胎一時金 (daittai ichijikin) of up to half of three years of benefits. Half of three years’ benefits is the maximum amount which means that if you have paid in for more than three years, you will lose money. To make this claim, you have to ask for it within two years of leaving Japan and designate someone in Japan to apply on your behalf (because you become entitled for the refund after you have left Japan). So it is best to nominate someone you trust.
More information on this on the Pension Refund page and in the General Information Handbook (p197 or PDF 107).

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3. Employment Insurance (雇用保険 koyou hoken)

Directions from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare require all working persons to enroll in Employment Insurance. Payment methods will be stipulated by JET participants' contracting organizations, with the period of enrollment coinciding with the JET participant's period of appointment. The premium to be paid by the JET participant will vary slightly according to their gross annual income, but is estimated to be between 28,000 and 31,000 yen per annum. After completion of the JET Programme appointment, if a JET participant remains in Japan and fulfills all the required conditions, the Public Employment Security Office may deem the participant eligible to claim unemployment benefits. Please contact your local Public Employment Security Office about questions regarding claims.

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4. JET Accident Insurance

All JET participants are covered by the JET Accident Insurance Policy, which usually covers the remaining 30% of medical treatment costs not covered by Social (Health) Insurance, minus a 5,000 yen deductible. Treatment will be covered in the case where a JET participant becomes ill or injured while temporarily returning to their home country or visiting a third country. The name of the managing insurance company is Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. Ltd., and, while you will not receive an insurance card for the JET Accident Insurance policy, you can make claims with your JET number and your policy number. To make a claim, you will need the original receipts from your doctor's visit and/or the pharmacy. There is a limit to the coverage, however, and extensive medical treatment, repatriation , and the treatment of some conditions are not covered. In particular, pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and asthma are not covered (although 70% of costs in Japan will be covered by the Japan Health Insurance Association Social (Health) Insurance).

Please note that under this policy, your belongings will not be covered in the event of a fire or other incident such as a natural disaster. You are strongly advised to take out other forms of insurance to cover your personal belongings. Please read the purple JET Accident Insurance Policy Guide carefully for more information and your policy number.

Your national health insurance can also be used abroad (see below for more information).

When does JET Insurance expire?

Your National Health Insurance ends the day of your contract. Return your insurance card to your CO on completion of your contract—they need it for paperwork.

JET Accident Insurance covers accidents and injury (not theft, loss) until the day you arrive in your home country or August 31, whichever comes first.

Read more about JET Insurance in the General Information Handbook (p53, PDF p30) or the Accident Insurance Policy Guide (http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/current/insurance/tokio01.html, download as a PDF).

English:


Japanese:


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WI-ALT Insurance

WI-ALTs are also enrolled in the Japan Health Insurance Association Social (Health) Insurance like JETs. But WI-ALTs are not enrolled in JET Accident Insurance or a similar program, so you will have to pay the remaining 30% not covered by the National Health Insurance out of pocket.

Within the monthly 300,000 yen remuneration, this includes money for your social insurance Social Insurance 社会保険 (shakai hoken). If you are a full-time worker in Japan, there are four types of insurance that you will be covered under:

1) Employees' Health Insurance 健康保険 (kenkou hoken)

Full-time workers must be enrolled in this insurance. The employer and the employee pay half the premium each. The employer, after deducting half of the premium from the employee’s salary, then pays the whole premium. If you or your family goes to the hospital for medical treatment, being enrolled in this program means you pay 30% of your hospital bill, and your dependents (wife and children) pay half. This program does NOT cover injuries and sickness caused by the workplace.

*Once you receive your health insurance card, be sure to bring this everywhere you go.

Workers Accident Compensation Insurance 労災保険(rousai hoken)

All workers including part-time workers will be covered by this insurance for injuries at workplace and sickness due to work. You will get your medical bills fully paid by this program. The employer has to pay the full premium.

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2) Welfare Pension 厚生年金 (kosei nenkin)

Most workers entitled to health insurance also join the pension scheme. You can receive pension after you pay in for 25 years, and you receive it when you reach age 65. The employer and employee each pay half of the premium.
Pension Blue Book: During your stay in Japan you will be given a blue pension book. Please do not lose this book as you cannot apply for your pension refund without it.

Pension Refund

For ALTs leaving Japan, since you have made contributions for 6 months or more, you are entitled to a lump sum refund 堕胎一時金 (daittai ichijikin) of up to half of three years of benefits. Half of three years’ benefits is the maximum amount which means that if you have paid in for more than three years, you will lose money. To make this claim, you have to ask for it within two years of leaving Japan and designate someone in Japan to apply on your behalf (because you become entitled for the refund after you have left Japan). So it is best to nominate someone you trust.

More information on this on the Pension Refund page and in the General Information Handbook (p197 or PDF 107).

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3) Employment Insurance 雇用保険 (koyou hoken)

This insurance is for people who become unemployed and need pay while they search for a new job. This applies to both full-time and part-time workers who are enrolled in this insurance. The employer and the employee both pay the premium. The employer, after deducting part of the premium from the employee’s salary, then pays the whole premium. The offer of payment depends on age, reason for leaving the job, how many months the premium was paid etc.

Note: Chiba-Wisconsin ALTs do not receive supplementary accident insurance or any form of travel insurance. However national health insurance can be used if you need to get emergency medical treatment while abroad. This is good to keep in mind when traveling to other countries or back to the states.

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Using Japanese National Health Insurance while abroad

According to the Japanese National Health Insurance website, if you visit a doctor overseas, you can pay the costs upfront and file to get money back when you return. The website is in Japanese, so maybe your supervisor or a trusted friend can help you.

There are a couple points to keep in mind according to the website:
  • This is intended for “sudden illnesses” and emergencies, so it probably cannot be used for a pre-existing condition. You may be able to use it if something suddenly gets worse, but it may not cover regular preventable treatments, as that isn’t covered even in Japan.
  • You can only use it for procedures recognized and covered in Japan (for example cosmetic surgery isn’t covered).
  • You can’t use it if the purpose for going abroad was to receive medical treatment
  • The amount you get back will be calculated based on how much the procedure would cost in Japan. So if it costs a lot more overseas, you won’t get that money back.
  • The currency conversion rate will be calculated based on the rate on the day your coverage is approved.

The forms you need to file are listed at the National Health Insurance website (your insurance provider).
  1. This application form
  2. Attending Physician’s Statement (form A): if you see a dentist, instead submit Attending Dentist’s Statement (form C)
  3. Physician’s/Dentist’s Statement translated into Japanese
  4. Itemized Receipt (form B)
  5. Receipt translated into Japanese
  6. The original receipt of your payment at the medical facility abroad
  7. Copy of your passport page that shows the period of time you were abroad

You have to file within 30 days upon your return, (and within 2 years of the day after you paid for your medical treatment) and you may also need your bank account info and/or a copy of some pages of your bankbook.
Send these forms to your prefecture’s branch of the Japan Health Insurance Association (全国健康保険協会)
Chiba:
〒260-8645千葉県千葉市中央区富士見2-20-1日本生命千葉ビル
Nihon Seimei Chiba Bldg. 2-20-1 Fujimi, Chuo-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture
TEL: 043-308-0521 (Weekdays 8:30-5:15, closed New Years)

Things to keep in mind:
  • Print it out single-sided
  • Don’t magnify or shrink the page, print as “actual size” (in Japanese: 実際のサイズ)
  • Under the “Print Quality” tab (in Japanese: 印刷品質), uncheck “Toner Saver” (トナーセーブ)
  • It will take time for the money to come back to you.
  • Money cannot be sent overseas; if you’re overseas, you’ll need someone in Japan to receive the money and forward it to you (same as pension refund).

For Americans: Health insurance is/may be mandatory for Americans due to the Affordable Care Act. The law is still unclear regarding whether expats are exempt from penalty fees.
https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/exemptions-from-the-fee/
http://www.bakermckenzie.com/files/Publication/e7cf0cc9-a918-405e-8535-87e9c957e52d/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/69fefc6b-4cef-45ac-8c0c-8bedd14b7492/ar_employment_expatriatecoveragehc_jun13.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expatriate_Health_Coverage_Clarification_Act_of_2014
There is a hotline listed—calling may offer more clarity. Your national insurance card may serve as proof that you have some kind of insurance, but since the penalty is based on income, and your income is from overseas, it's still unclear.

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Other resources


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