Japan Health Insurance Advice

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Global Health Insurance can help you find the right insurance plan in Japan. We deliver impartial advice and recommendations to our clients based on their requirements, not on incentives from insurance companies. Our insurance experts have extensive knowledge on the full range of expat health insurance plans available and can select and advise you on the best plan to choose.

  • Individual Plans
    Japan expat health insurance plans designed for individuals. These plans are flexible, annually renewable and can be tailored to meet your specific medical requirements.
  • Family Plans
    Family is the most important thing in many of our lives. Our medical consultants can recommend international health insurance cover to provide protection for all the family.
  • Group Plans
    Medical insurance is vital for today’s business. Executives often travel extensively in the course of their job and we can advise you on what levels of cover are needed and can often obtain group discounts on your behalf.
  • Travel Plans
    Japan expat health insurance plans designed for people visiting or working in Japan. Policies can be tailored for either for the short or medium term, but the trip cannot exceed 12 months.

Global Health Insurance aims to provide you with the complete insurance solution; everything from choosing the right medical plan and reimbursement of claims to making sure you find the best hospitals that are internationally recognized by your Japan expat health insurance plan. This is all done in an efficient, customer focused manner ensuring your Japan expat health insurance plan gives the right cover for you.


Health Insurance Plans for Japan

The East Asian island archipelago of Japan lies in the Pacific Ocean to the east of Russia, Korea and China. Its unique culture and history formed over centuries of isolation; even the influence of neighbours such as China and Korea has been diluted due to Japan’s geographic isolation. Modern Japanese culture takes more inspiration from global trends, but with distinctly local characteristics, particularly in art, fashion and cuisine. Japanese food is justly world renowned, and even restaurants serving European cuisine are world class. Japan is the world’s third largest economy, despite having a population of only 128 million, making it one of the world’s most densely populated countries.

The Japanese population enjoys the world’s longest average life expectancy, 80 years for males and 86 years for females. Annual health care spending per capita is US$ 2,713, or about 8.3 per cent of GDP. This figure far exceeds the average in the WHO’s Western Pacific region, but is actually lower than that of many developed countries. By comparison, the United States spends US$ 7,410 per capita annually on health care. Government expenditure accounts for 80 percent of health care spending in Japan. Of the 20 percent of health care expenditure in the private sector, 80 percent comes from out of pocket payment by individual patients. Private Japan health insurance represents only 13.8 percent of total private spending, although this represents a big jump from 1.7 percent following reforms in 2003.

Japanese health care is considered among the best in the world. Japan’s well-trained health care workforce is adequately staffed. There are 20.6 doctors and 41.4 nurses and midwives per every 10,000 population, including specialists of all types. Hospitals possess the most up to date medical technology and generally there are no problems with accessing pharmaceuticals with a prescription.

Communicable diseases are relatively rare in Japan. HIV affects only 1 in every 1,000 adults, compared with a global average of 8 per 1,000. There are 25 cases of tuberculosis per every 100,000 people, compared with a global average of 201. The Japanese population is much more susceptible to the so-called “diseases of affluence” such as cancer and cardio-pulmonary disease, which are correlated with modern diets, smoking, alcohol abuse, stress and a sedentary lifestyle.

Japanese mothers enjoy universal access to antenatal, birth and infant care. Maternal mortality figures are also among the lowest in the world, with six deaths per every 100,000 live births – compared with a global average of 260.

From a public health perspective, Japanese citizens enjoy universal access to clean drinking water and modern sanitation facilities. In fact, Japanese toilets are regarded as the most advanced in the world for sanitation and comfort.

Before visiting or relocating to Japan, routine immunisations should be updated, as well as vaccinations against hepatitis B and Japanese encephalitis if you are planning to spend time in rural areas. Japan’s temperate climate means that insect-borne diseases found in much of East Asia are rare. Japan recently suffered a measles outbreak in 2007, but this has since been contained. An avian influenza outbreak occurred in 2003 – 04.

While Japanese cuisine may be the best in the world, as with travellers anywhere, gastrointestinal discomfort is the number one health complaint for foreigners. Raw foods are often eaten in Japan, but use caution and ensure that you are getting fresh meat. It also may be advisable to drink only bottled water; although Japanese tap water is safe, it may contain minerals and contaminants that you are not used to in your home country. Also, several Japanese die every year from ingesting poison from the “fugu” or pufferfish, which may only be prepared by a specially trained professional chef. Acute cases of nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea may be treated with over the counter medication, but persistent cases or suspected poisoning should be treated by a physician immediately.

Rules of the road vary in every country; extra care must be taken while driving in Japan, where traffic drives on the left. Never drive after drinking alcohol and always wear your seat belt. Traffic congestion can be a serious problem, so use extra caution when riding a bicycle or motorbike and always wear a helmet.

While Japan is one of the safest countries in the world in terms of overall health and crime figures, it is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis which occur with some regularity. While Japanese infrastructure has been designed to withstand such catastrophes, the recent Fukushima earthquake tragically illustrated that complete preparation is impossible. In a serious earthquake and / or tsunami there are obvious health risks from collapsing buildings and other structures, as well as knock-on effects from polluted drinking water sources, or as was seen recently, from damaged nuclear reactors.

Japan’s health care system is modern, efficient and cost effective and is, in many ways, the envy of the world. However, language and cultural barriers can be a problem, and are the most widely reported complaints of visitors and expatriates. While Tokyo and a few other major cities have international medical care centres, these can be very expensive. Some patients may prefer air evacuation to their home country for surgery or long-term care. An international health insurance plan is strongly recommended.

We understand that selecting a plan from the myriad of Japanese international health insurance options can be daunting. Fortunately, Global Health Insurance has an experienced team of advisors available 24 hours a day to address your international health insurance questions. Plans available through Global Health Insurance include alternative, dental, maternal and medical evacuations. Contact a Global Health Insurance advisor today for more information.