INSURANCE | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japan moves to limit national health insurance coverage

Only workers and their dependents in the country can avail to prevent abuse.

The Japanese Cabinet has greenlit a bill that will strictly limit health insurance programme to workers and their dependents residing in the country as the country prepares to further open up the country to more foreign talent. 

Exceptions will be made to allow Japanese health insurance coverage for those who are temporarily living overseas for study or work.

Currently, the employee health insurance system covers dependents who are living abroad but authorities have faced challenges in determining their actual relationship to workers. There have been cases where foreign nationals receive healthcare benefits as dependents of Japanese workers which leaves the system prone to abuse by foreigners who have never lived in the country. 

Japan is gearing to accept more foreign workers from April 2019 as it aims to plug its thinning and ageing workforce with more blue-collar workers under a new visa programme.

The new insurance system is expected to kick into effect in April 2020.

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