For visitors who are staying in Japan for a year or more, it is mandatory to take out health insurance (this may be either the National Health Insurance or Health Insurance that is affiliated with your place of employment). You will receive a card as proof that you are a member (one per household), and it is this card that you need to take with you on any hospital/clinic visits. You are entitled to a 70% discount for most medical services (please check with the hospital/clinic that your card is valid before receiving treatment). Some people take out further insurance to cover the remaining 30% of the costs. People who are here for a shorter period of time, who don’t have their own insurance, and don’t enroll in Japanese health insurance, will be liable for 100% of the costs of all medical treatment.
Things that may not be covered
Common things that may not be covered by the health insurance are dental, sight, and hearing checkups, some dental treatments, cosmetic surgery, vaccinations, and costs associated with normal pregnancy. This list is not comprehensive, and it is always best to check if you are covered prior to receiving treatment.
General procedure in a hospital
Register with the hospital if it is your first time there (check that your health insurance card is valid there).
Proceed to the appropriate department, and fill in a form describing your symptoms. Take a number and wait your turn.
Be seen by the doctor.
Receive a written prescription if necessary.
Pay for the prescription at the cash register.
Take a number and wait your turn.
Receive your medicine from the dispensary (usually next door to where you pay).
General procedure in a clinic
Check that your health insurance card is valid.
Fill in a form describing your symptoms.
Add your name to the list, and wait your turn.
Be seen by the doctor.
Collect your medicine or prescription from reception, and pay.
Where to go for medical services
For non-urgent problems, it is normally advisable to first visit a clinic (they may then refer you to a hospital). They are often less-crowded and better value-for-money.
Use the following link to search for your local hospital/clinic with staff who can speak foreign languages (including English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Russian).
Yamaguchi Emergency Medical Information System
It is not necessary to make appointments in advance, except for dental treatment.
Evening Medical Services
Should you need medical treatment in the evening, you can call the following free-phone numbers to find out which facilities are open (in Japanese only).
Iwakuni area: 0120-379901
Yanai area: 0120-379902
Shunan area: 0120-379903
Hofu area: 0120-379904
Yamaguchi area: 0120-379905
Ube/Onoda area: 0120-379906
Shimonoseki area: 0120-379907
Hagi/Nagato area: 0120-379908
Alternatively, you may call your local fire station to obtain a list of the facilities that are open.
Women who give birth whilst enrolled in the health insurance scheme, or within 6 months of retiring from a job they held for at least one year, are entitled to claim 300000yen per child born, even if they are now overseas.
AMDA International Medical Information Center, 03-5285-8086 (Tokyo), or 06-4395-0555 (Osaka).
Japan HIV Center (Tokyo), Saturday 12:00 15:00, 03-5259-0256 (English)
Alcoholics Anonymous (Tokyo), 03-3971-1471
Overeaters Anonymous (Tokyo), 03-5605-9425
IMHPJ (International Mental Health Professionals Japan), www.imhpj.org
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