Japan National Health Insurance contributions going up. Still worth it!

I keep meaning to blog about the notice I received, as a resident of Shibuya, that mandatory health insurance premiums are going up starting in July.

The maximum used to be 690,000 yen a year—and this was for folks who had a residence tax income of something like 8 million yen in the fiscal year prior. Remember, insurance premiums for legitimate health insurance are deductible from your national tax here. So no one–unless they had no income–was actually on the hook for the full amount. A certain fraction of it comes back to you via tax reduction on other taxes.

The notice said that total premiums will be a maximum of 730,000 yen, and the percentages for coverage will also change a bit.

[More later.]

[Update: If I read the notice right, there are three parts to the National Health Insurance contribution / tax. One is for basic coverage, the next is some kind of old-age assistance program, and the third is a long-term care insurance paid by those over age 40. I am not sure if the middle one is or is not paid only by those over age 40.

For 2009’s bill (based on 2008 income), the percentages were:

basic coverage: 6.8% of your resident’s tax taxable income. (This is expressed as point six eight of whatever your resident’s tax bill is. So if you have a 200,000 yen resident’s tax, you pay .68 times 200,000 or 136,000 yen.) Since the residents tax is at 10%, this is how I get 6.8%.

Old age assistance: 0.26 of your residents tax (2.6% of the taxable income)

Long-term care: 0.11 of your residents tax (1.1% of the taxable income).

There was a minimum overall charge of 48,300 yen.

For this year, the figures are:

basic: .80 of resident’s tax
old-age assistance: .23 of resident’s tax
long-term care: .11 of resident’s tax

Minimum overall charge of 51,900 yen, (basic: 31,200 yen; old-age assistance, 8,700 yen; and long-term care 12,000 yen.)

I don’t know who has to pay which parts. I am assuming everyone in the program pays the basic. I end up paying all three because I am over 40.

Last year, I paid the maximum (ouch!), but I don’t expect to be anywhere near there this year, since 2009 was much more of a “famine” year. (Remember I said that Japan can be feast or famine, because companies routinely like to stick foreigners in contract assignments. But I am getting off topic.)

Like I was saying, you get to deduct this contribution / tax from your regular, national tax. Once you do that, your resident’s tax for the next year is also reduced, and so you really end up being out about 75% of the actual insurance charges you see above.

I want to point out to the people that cheat the Japanese about this that the fact that the minimum contribution and the maximum contribution both went up along with the percentage for the basic charge probably means that, in the future, it is more likely that the government will come knocking on your door. The contribution is going up, because they don’t have the money.

Regular readers know that I support Japan’s laws and would never even thiink of trying to get over on National Health here. If you do, I just think you are trying to cheat your fellow residents, and it says something about the kind of world you want to live in. People occasionally read me once or twice, usually about Futenma, recent DPJ antics, labor and contract cheating, and then cite me as a “Japan critic” or “anti-Japan” blogger. But as you know, that’s not right at all. I am for rules and for people doing what they are supposed to. If, for some reason you can’t, you at least try.

So if you should be in the National Health, get in it.]