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Terrafire
August 11th, 2011, 22:55
I've read a lot about the health insurance issue on the internet, from sources spanning the last decade. Can anyone who's with Interac as an ALT now comment on how their health insurance was handled by the company/whether they had to push to get shakai hoken rather than kokumin kenko hoken? I'm going out later this year with them, and I've come to the conclusion I'd like to make sure they sign me up properly before the contract begins. How much of a struggle is this these days?

NB While older experience is interesting, I get the impression things have changed in the past couple of years, so if anyone has really recent experience that would be awesome.

privileged
August 11th, 2011, 23:14
i was there a few years ago so hopefully someone more recent will post but in the meantime, they had this amazing system that despite clearly being a full time job, they claimed you technically worked under 30 hrs/week thus dodging shakai hoken. Which was fine with me, I never saw the advantage of eating 30,000 yen/mo or whatever for that. Instead they set you up for roughly 8,000 /mo private insurance.

Because their site still says "assigned working hours will be 29.5 or less," I would be surprised if this were not still the case.

Jojo
August 12th, 2011, 08:47
its now up to the individual - if you want shakai hoken you can have it - if not you can get private insurance for 5-8000 per month.

Laevatienn
August 17th, 2011, 04:25
I see this question often so I sent a little tweet to a contact to give me the down low. According to him, there are three choices, and I am quoting. Notes are in **:

First is Shakai Hoken which only applies to those who work under a haken style teaching. Reasoning being that Shakai Hoken is not health insurance. Shakai Hoken is health insurance + a pension plan which is why those working over 30 hour are required to enroll. It is optional for those under 30 hours. Shakai Hoken for a normal ALT wouldn't make sense due to this pension part. You would pay roughly 25,000-30,000 yen a month in the first year (it is based on last year's income level) and 26,000-31,000 the years after. Most ALTs don't stay in the country long enough to actually get a return on the pension part of the program, you get a little back but not nearly all of it.

Next is Kokumin. This is the same thing as Shakai Hoken but without the pension plan. You still pay 30% and the insurance pays 70% just like Shakai Hoken. The main benefit of this is the fact that you don't pay into the pension plan which lowers your premiums to about 9000-15,000. The premium is determined much the same way as Shakai Hoken but with a few more factors. *Note: He mentioned later something about giving birth and death being different than Shakai Hoken.

Last is InterGlobal Healthcare. *I was on this during my internship with Interac*. This is meant for people who are sure that they will not be staying in Japan more than 11 months. There are three plans and a top up. Bronze is 5770 yen, Silver is 6700 yen and Gold is 7300 yen. The different levels mean different coverage levels. *I'm not sure what the different coverage levels are*. The Top Up is for those enrolled in Shakai Hoken or Kokumin. They reimburse the 30% you pay out of pocket so you would be covered 100%. Interglobal is highly discouraged because most ALTs decide to stay and if you stay you have to switch to Kokumin. Doesn't sound so bad until you add on the fact that you will have to pay a years worth of coverage on top of the new month's premium to Kokumin.

End Quote.

From what I understand, Kokumin is the best because it's the same thing as Shakai Hoken without the pension plan which, I think, is something similar to Social Security in the States. Much like in the States, you can't cash out prematurely so you would only get a small portion of what you payed back when you left Japan and I hear it is also a pain to get in the first place. InterGlobal is discouraged for obvious reasons (I would not pay around 108,000-180,000 yen just to switch health insurance.)

Hope that helps.

Also, the 29.5 hour thing is actually correct in Japan terms. Most people think of it from a USA or other western countries view points. I did a little research to try and piss of my contact but it was to no avail :(. You cannot count time you are not working which is when you are teaching or asked to each lunch with the kids. The rest of the time is technically free time, you could even leave the school (DON'T LEAVE THE SCHOOL!) if you wanted to. So while you are at the school from 8:00-4:30 (8:30 hours) you are only on the clock for 5-6ish hours. Sad but true. Maybe there is a loophole somewhere, if any of you have any info I could throw at my guy I would appreciate it :^_^:. I would love to see him confused for once. :077:

privileged
August 19th, 2011, 01:21
When I was with Interac I taught a maximum of around 12 classes in a week, often just a couple a day, sometimes none for 2 weeks at a time.

They certainly didn't count this as 0 hours work; it was still 29.5...

Laevatienn
August 23rd, 2011, 04:17
When I was with Interac I taught a maximum of around 12 classes in a week, often just a couple a day, sometimes none for 2 weeks at a time.

They certainly didn't count this as 0 hours work; it was still 29.5...

Damn, I would have liked that schedule. I was working at least 4 classes a day. My record was literally at the mark for 29.5 hours. Mind you, interns are a bit of a special case and I was a bit special even amongst interns. I was on a shotgun schedule along with office work. It can be a little harrowing not knowing where you are going until 11:30 PM the night before with no lesson plan. Morning Standby can be just as bad but there is something more tiring about receiving an assignment the day before near midnight that just sets off a stress flag.

DandeLion
January 19th, 2012, 11:19
I've read a lot about the health insurance issue on the internet, from sources spanning the last decade. Can anyone who's with Interac as an ALT now comment on how their health insurance was handled by the company/whether they had to push to get shakai hoken rather than kokumin kenko hoken? I'm going out later this year with them, and I've come to the conclusion I'd like to make sure they sign me up properly before the contract begins. How much of a struggle is this these days?

NB While older experience is interesting, I get the impression things have changed in the past couple of years, so if anyone has really recent experience that would be awesome.

Hey I know you have probably already decided what to do and everything but there was a decent blog post about this for anyone else who was wondering about the same thing - it helped me out.

Japan in Real-Time: 医療分 Insuring Japan (http://wrongrouge.blogspot.com/2011/12/insuring-japan.html)

K-On!
February 7th, 2012, 15:03
Interac is currently in the process of making a move to giving the teachers shakai hoken, but it will take a few years to finalize everything. :kaos_chirol_good1: Just keep waiting if you're interested! :kaos_kms_wai:

Don't get the Globalcare stuff, it's just traveler's insurance! In your first year the public health insurance will be so cheap so it would be foolish to pay more for the Globalcare! :kaosotnpfinger:

anonymoose
May 26th, 2012, 15:59
Bumping an old thread.

So, I plan to be in Japan for 1-3 years, on a contract with Interac for the first year. Since I'm definitely staying over a year, I plan on getting national health insurance, but since I'm not planning on staying longer than 3 years I don't see the benefit of enrolling in a national pension scheme. I haven't found recent good information that answers the question of the legality of enrolling in health insurance without the corresponding pension, so I'll post a few links I found and questions I have that I'm sure will help many people in a similar situation.

I know there are a few different options that have been listed on this thread already, but I have some extra questions. For my specific situation, Kokumin Kenko Hoken seems like the best deal. However, I'm not sure if enrolling in Kokumin would require me to also enroll in Kokumin Nenkin (the pension side).

According to Mitaka City|Municipal Office Information|National Pension (Kokumin Nenkin) (http://www.city.mitaka.tokyo.jp/foreign/english/003/009.html)
"National Pension (Kokumin Nenkin)

 Everyone living in Japan who is between 20 and 59 years of age enrolls in the National Pension system and pays premiums to prepare for senior life and handicaps. This is the case for foreign residents as well. Please complete enrollment procedures at the General Affairs and Pension Subsection of the Civil Affairs Section."

Seems like we do have to enroll. But from other things I've read, it seems like a treaty between the US and Japanese government might exempt US citizens (and I've read similar things with UK and other governments) from buying into the Japanese pension scheme. Here's a link: Description of the U.S.-Japanese Social Security Agreement (http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/japan.html)
"It doesn’t cover the National Pension Fund and the Employees’ Pension Fund which are corporate pension funds under which participation and contributions are voluntary."

I'm really not certain on this. From what I've read there are many ALTs who have been in Japan for years enrolled in Kokumin Kenko Hoken without Kokumin Nenkin. Paying 8,000 yen a month seems like a much better option for someone not planning on living in Japan for the rest of their lives than paying 20,000-30,000 yen for Shakai Hoken.

I understand Kokumin doesn't cover some of the accident/emergency situations that Shakai does, but the risk is very low (I'm a cautious, young, healthy person). For individuals who think that's a bad perspective, it's the same perspective anyone takes when they decide to drive a car (potential of lethal accident, but they consider the cost of not doing so too high), fly in a plane, or anything else in life. I'll be sure to have better coverage when I'm in my mid-twenties, it's just a high cost for someone in their early twenties with some student loans to pay off and a desire to travel throughout Asia while in Japan.

anonymoose
May 26th, 2012, 16:12
If no one knows I'll ask Interac staff at some point when we start going over the actual contract and sorting out this stuff, and I'll post whatever it is that they tell me.

I've read comments from owners of smaller eikaiwa schools that aren't sure about it (although they were a few years old when some legal changes were just being made). Does the 29.5 working hours/week affect this at all?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

AVN
May 26th, 2012, 22:19
But if you're not planning to stay longer than three years who cares? You'll get it all back when you go home. Think of it as forced savings.

anonymoose
May 27th, 2012, 02:43
I've read a lot about people having a difficult time getting back a high percentage of their pension payments. According to Getting Your Pension Back | Nagoya International Center (http://www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/349) , the refund is about 7000 yen per month paid in one example and in the other it seems like the refund is 2.1 years payments when there were actually 2.5 years of contributions.

Even if I can get everything back, I hate paperwork and would like to avoid it if it's unnecessary. There's all kinds of stuff that makes claiming a lump-sum withdrawal a lengthy and difficult process. For example:
"Claiming Tax Back
For Category 2 insured persons, 20% income tax is imposed on the lump-sum payment, but if preparations are made ahead of time, the 20% income tax can be claimed back."

It might count towards pension payments in the US, but I'd really rather just use the same money and pay off my student loan more quickly so I'm saving interest cost over time. The payments are estimated at 11% of your monthly salary, so I'd really prefer to have control of that money every month. I'm sure other people are wondering about whether they need to enroll in Kokumin Nenkin also.

anonymoose
May 27th, 2012, 02:59
http://www.nenkin.go.jp/n/www/share/pdf/existing/main/individual_02/pdf/dattai/english.pdf

Okay, this PDF document page 5 has the refund amounts in English from the official Japanese pension website. so depending on how many months you paid you can get a few months chopped off from your refund, as well as the refund seeming to be a lower monthly amount (once you divide the lump-sum amount by the months paid) than what you actually have to pay.

pika
May 27th, 2012, 04:22
https://www.interacnetwork.com/recruit/index.php/salary

In Interac's example monthly budgets there's no pension payments. For the first one they have health insurance @ 3,000 yen (private, for those staying <=1 year), and for the other they have it @ 8,000 yen (probably Kokumin?) and still without any pension.

On a side note, according to the first budget, city taxes are really cheap in Hokkaido!

Laevatienn
June 6th, 2012, 06:22
Interac recently cut the private insurance company off and it is now just Kokumin and Shakai. In my eyes there is no point in getting Shakai Hoken unless you are planning on working in Japan straight for the allotted time required to get a full refund. You can get a refund early within 3 years. If you work a day over three years then you cannot refund a drop of anything you pay after the three years (i.e. they cut the refund off amount at 36 months). Kokumin is technically meant for the unemployed which is why I think it gets a bad rap but it is simpler and covers all but 2 of the same things Shakai Hoken does. Those two include death and pregnancy/birth. Basically, Kokumin is a fruit knife, you can use it for cutting fruit like it was meant to or you can use to cut rope with no negatives to the actual knife.

Edit: anonymoose's nenkin link has the details. Take a look at that. Nice find anonymoose and I agree with sentiment about paper work. めんどくさい からな。

Edit: Interesting, now I am unsure of the extra insurance from the private company. First I hear from old contacts that they dropped it then they allude to a third party insurance on the Insurance page of the new website... I have no idea anymore. They are doing some odd things of late.

K-On!
June 12th, 2012, 15:28
Bumping an old thread.

So, I plan to be in Japan for 1-3 years, on a contract with Interac for the first year. Since I'm definitely staying over a year, I plan on getting national health insurance, but since I'm not planning on staying longer than 3 years I don't see the benefit of enrolling in a national pension scheme. I haven't found recent good information that answers the question of the legality of enrolling in health insurance without the corresponding pension, so I'll post a few links I found and questions I have that I'm sure will help many people in a similar situation.

I know there are a few different options that have been listed on this thread already, but I have some extra questions. For my specific situation, Kokumin Kenko Hoken seems like the best deal. However, I'm not sure if enrolling in Kokumin would require me to also enroll in Kokumin Nenkin (the pension side).

According to Mitaka City|Municipal Office Information|National Pension (Kokumin Nenkin) (http://www.city.mitaka.tokyo.jp/foreign/english/003/009.html)
"National Pension (Kokumin Nenkin)

 Everyone living in Japan who is between 20 and 59 years of age enrolls in the National Pension system and pays premiums to prepare for senior life and handicaps. This is the case for foreign residents as well. Please complete enrollment procedures at the General Affairs and Pension Subsection of the Civil Affairs Section."

Seems like we do have to enroll. But from other things I've read, it seems like a treaty between the US and Japanese government might exempt US citizens (and I've read similar things with UK and other governments) from buying into the Japanese pension scheme. Here's a link: Description of the U.S.-Japanese Social Security Agreement (http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/japan.html)
"It doesn’t cover the National Pension Fund and the Employees’ Pension Fund which are corporate pension funds under which participation and contributions are voluntary."

I'm really not certain on this. From what I've read there are many ALTs who have been in Japan for years enrolled in Kokumin Kenko Hoken without Kokumin Nenkin. Paying 8,000 yen a month seems like a much better option for someone not planning on living in Japan for the rest of their lives than paying 20,000-30,000 yen for Shakai Hoken.

I understand Kokumin doesn't cover some of the accident/emergency situations that Shakai does, but the risk is very low (I'm a cautious, young, healthy person). For individuals who think that's a bad perspective, it's the same perspective anyone takes when they decide to drive a car (potential of lethal accident, but they consider the cost of not doing so too high), fly in a plane, or anything else in life. I'll be sure to have better coverage when I'm in my mid-twenties, it's just a high cost for someone in their early twenties with some student loans to pay off and a desire to travel throughout Asia while in Japan.

You're technically supposed to enroll in both the pension and health insurance programs, but they're in separate places in the offices. It's very easy to only enroll in just the health insurance and skip the pension payments. If you're only planning to be here a short amount of time then that would be pretty easy to do!:D

The only problem is that if you need to renew your visa, you're supposed to submit proof of both health insurance and pension payments, and I've heard it's going to get much stricter with the new immigration system! :o Be careful about that!