Monday, June 6, 2011

Getting Sick in Japan

Expat Column No.8
BY LILIK RAHAYU from Indonesia, Kochi City CIR

In Indonesia, when I got sick, I hardly ever went to the hospital. Apart from serious illnesses when it is unavoidable to go to hospital, for something as simple as a cold I felt that over-the-counter drugs were enough. This is because in Indonesia I was not covered by health insurance, so treatment costs were too high.

However, in Japan the existence of health insurance means I only have to pay 30%, and can now go to a doctor whenever I am sick. I am a mother of two small children. I knew that children get sick quite a lot, and that has proved true. My children go to nursery school, and it’s not unusual for them to catch something from other children.

In Kochi City, where I now live, the city government covers the 30% fee parents normally have to pay for their sick children.※ This means it is free for children to see a doctor in Kochi City, no matter how many times they need to go. I am very impressed by this system, but not to the extent that I want my children to get sick!

When I went home for a 1-month visit in late 2005, my child got sick, so I took them to the hospital. After the consultation, I went to leave straight away, only to be called back by a nurse. ‘Excuse me. You need to pay over there!’ she said. I thought to myself: ‘Ah! We’re not in Japan anymore’.(※Children are covered up to the end of the month in which they turn three.)

Taken from vol.18 (June & July, 2007. Delicacies and Specialties in Kochi)

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