International students who will be in Japan for one year or longer must enroll in the National Health Insurance System (kokumin kenko hoken). Formalities are carried out by the municipal office of the region in which you live. The Student Office will help newly arrived students with signing up for the National Health Insurance System. You will have to make monthly (or 6-monthly, depending on where you live) payments of the insurance fee. Upon joining the National Health Insurance System you will receive a National Health Insurance Certificate. If you show your certificate at the reception desk when you receive medical treatment, you will need to pay only 30% of the incurred medical costs. Be aware that not all foreign doctors and international clinics accept Japanese National Health Insurance. Prices can be quite high so please check before you go and see a doctor!
Dependents can also join the National Health Insurance System. Additional insurance fees must be paid for dependents. The National Health Insurance covers most medical care, dental care and medications. In the case of major medical expenses incurred as a result of hospitalisation or otherwise, you may be eligible for a refund or loan from National Health Insurance to cover the excess amount as a Major Medical Expense.
If there is any change in name, address or family circumstances (e.g.childbirth), you must notify the National Health Insurance Section at your municipal office within 14 days of the change. You will need to bring your National Health Insurance Certificate and Foreign Resident Registration Card.
Please note that medical expenses incurred overseas are not covered by the National Health Insurance. If you are planning to travel abroad during your period of stay in Japan, you are strongly advised to get travel insurance (kaigai ryokou hoken) which can be obtained through travel agents or at the airport.
If you become ill or injure yourself and require hospitalisation, please contact the GRIPS Health Services Center immediately.