Attention ALTs!

If Interac tries to pressure you into signing up for Kokumin Kenko Hoken, don’t do it! Kokumin Kenko Hoken is for people that are self-employed or unemployed. If you sign up for Kokumin Kenko Hoken, you may be forced to back enroll into the system up to the time that you started working in Japan (meaning you will have to pay your monthly dues up to the maximum limit of two years).

Instead, you should enroll into Shakai Hoken, because Interac will be forced to pay their half. If there is any back enrollment it will be covered by the company, not by you. You are all eligible for this. The only reason Interac tells you otherwise is because they don’t want to pay their portion of the money.

You can do this on your own, or you can join the “Interac union” (aka members of the Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union Tozen ALTs) and we can force them to pay up together in solidarity. The Tokyo General Union has a lot of experience in forcing companies to enroll their employees into Shakai Hoken so we can get you enrolled with much less effort on you part.


3 thoughts on “Attention ALTs!”

  1. Can you elaborate on what Shakai Hoken Interac has? For example, are your referring to the Global independent insurance company? Is this something all together different? And is it possible for people who have enrolled in Kokumin Kenko Hoken to withdraw from that plan in order to enter into this Shakai Hoken? Thank you for your time.

  2. Certainly. 

    First let’s iron out some terms. “Hoken” (保険) simply means “insurance” and “Shakai Hoken” (社会保険) specifically refers to one of the two government programs that all workers in Japan (with very few exceptions) are required to be signed up for. The other government run insurance is Kokumin Kenko Hoken (国民健康保険). An explanation of the differences in the two government programs can be found here:

    The biggest difference in my opinion is the fact that Shakai Hoken will pay you 60% of your salary if you are incapacitated and cannot work from injury or illness. Kokumin Kenko Hoken will not afford you this luxury. If you are hurt at work or during your commute, you can still get workers’ compensation. Workers compensation will not help you however if you are hit by a car on the way to the grocery store on the weekend and hospitalized for a few months.

    Global Insurance is not one of these two required government programs. It is a private, for-profit insurance company based in New Zealand with offices in Japan.  Private insurance is sold in Japan in order to make up for the percentage of cost that the government’s plans don’t cover (Shakai Hoken will cover 70% of normal claims  and insurance through private companies like Aflac would cover the remaining 30%). One of the well touted advantages of Global Insurance is that they claim to pay 100% of your claims. The problem is that you have to pay ALL of your medical expenses up front, and then make a claim by filing with your original reciepts and any other supporting documents. A union member that I spoke to today told me that it took Global Insurance a full year to pay a ¥10,000 dental claim. The claim was relatively small, so it makes me wonder 
    1) why it took so long and
    2) how long the claim would take if it were larger; ¥100,000 perhaps?

    Also troubling is the regulation that you are supposed to call ahead for pre-approval for an emergency, such as long term stays in a hospital. That just seems like it would be a nightmare of paperwork to me. Presenting your Global Insurance card would not help you get admitted because doctors can turn you away if you do not have a proper insurance card. 

    My view is that you should sign up for one of the government programs as is required by law, and if you want additional coverage then you should purchase that as well. Global Insurance really isn’t sufficient as a sole source of insurance, especially if your family is living across an ocean and would have trouble getting to you should an emergency arise.    

  3. I just found out about this site, very interesting. Thanks for clearing that up for some of us.

    I currently work for Interac but am leaning towards quitting and going to a Japanese language school for a year or so. I was thinking of joining the Kokumin insurance since my Interglobal will expire and as you said, it’s #1, not endorsed and #2, kind of a pain to get paid back. In an emergency, which luckily hasn’t happened, I don’t know how it could help you.

    That being said, I hope to get a part-time job along with some cafe gigs to help pay for some of my expenses. Do you know if most part-time jobs offer Shaken to their employees? I’ve also heard if you move to a new city/ward, which I will be doing, that they often don’t charge you the back charges (which I’ve read is 250,000 yen max). Do you know anything about this? I’m not really sure what to do since I won’t have a job right away and I’d like to be insured somehow.

    Any help is much appreciated! Thanks and keep up the good work!


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