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HOME > Introduction to Kenpo > What is health insurance?
What is health insurance?

One of the questions that causes us the greatest concern in our everyday lives is how to finance medical treatment and support ourselves when someone in our family becomes sick or injured. We have the same concerns regarding childbirth and death expenditures. Health insurance is a system designed to prepare us for unexpected outlays and ease our sense of anxiety. The system provides the medical treatment and cash we need in the event of sickness, injury, childbirth, and death. The insurance premiums paid by workers and their employers based upon their earning levels support this system.

What is a Health Insurance Society?

A health insurance society is a public body charged with the mission of providing health insurance. All corporations with one or more full-time employees and privately managed companies with five or more full-time employees (excluding those companies specifically exempt from the requirements for health insurance), are required to join some kind of health insurance plans. Meanwhile, companies with 700 or more full-time employees (or 3,000 or more when similar types of business and industry bodies are grouped together) may establish their own health insurance societies, by means of getting an approval from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare for the application submitted by the employer, to provide health insurance suited to their specific needs.
Businesses that do not establish their own health insurance societies must join the health insurance plan operated by the National Health Insurance Association (Kyokai Kenpo).

The advantages of a Health Insurance Society


As well as being able to implement insurance measures tailored to suit the age structure, ratio of males and females, illness trends, etc. of insured persons and their dependents, a Health Insurance Society is also able to actively implement health management and other programs in cooperation with employers.


Health Insurance Societies can offer additional benefits depending on the circumstances of each Society.


As well as being able to build its own health and recreation facilities, establish contracted health resort facilities, a Health Insurance Society is also able to help develop physical strength of its insured persons and their dependents by providing assistance for athletic activity promotion and other programs.


Within the scope of legally permitted financial operations, Health Insurance Societies from around the country can pool their contributions to subsidize high-cost medical care expenses and assist Health Insurance Societies in financial difficulties.


A Health Insurance Society may set general premium rates within the range between 30/1000 and 130/1000, in accordance with its financial status. In addition, with regard to the share of premiums paid by insured persons and by employers, the society may choose to reduce the share paid by the insured.

Medical care insurance in Japan


1. Society-managed Health Insurance

2. Health insurance plan managed by the National Health Insurance Association (Kyokai Kenpo)

3. National Government Employees Mutual
Aid Associations, Local Government
Employees Mutual Aid Associations

4. Private School Teachers and
Employees Mutual Aid Association

5. Seamen's Insurance

based Health

National Health Insurance
(insurance directed at those engaged in agriculture,
forestry and fisheries, the self-employed,
retires, and others)

Medical services
for persons
in the latter stage of old age
Health insurance for individuals
aged 75 or over

Medical service system for persons in the latter stage of old age

Index Top
Introduction to Kenpo
  Health insurance outline
  What is health insurance?
  Tasks performed by Health Insurance Society
  Administration of Health Insurance Society
  What are insurance benefits?
  List of insurance benefits
  Table of monthly insurance premiums
  Medical care cost information
  Data Health Plans
  The Social Security and Tax Number System

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