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Japan encourages foreign tourists to buy travel insurance due to surge in unpaid medical bills

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If you don't want this to happen, make it compulsory.

Simply buying by a bank card and you are safe. Who pays differently ?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The flyer, also available in Chinese, Korean, and Thai, was created by the Japan Tourism Agency and distributed to airports nationwide to inform tourists that they can quickly and easily buy insurance using their smartphones or other devices, even after arriving in Japan.

No English? Hmmm...

The cards list examples of fees uninsured travelers can incur for medical services, such as "700,000 yen for heatstroke" and "3 million yen for a broken bone."

3 million for a broken bone? Damn, I've broken bones here and WITH insurance, at the time 3% co-pay, it was less than 2,000円 for x-rays, and treatment. They just have to be talking about surgery here!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Reasonable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Don't blame it all on foreign Travelers. There are plenty of Japanese who get to the payment counter at the hospital after their treatment and tell the clerk that they are unable to pay. I've seen it myself time and again.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Get a decent credit card that offers free travel insurance and use it to book your trip people, it's a lot less of a hassle when it comes to claims as well. If you claim for something you bought using the card, they just reverse the charges.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Just add it to the cost of landing at an airport or arriving on a tour ship. This way everyone is paying and the individual cost is spread out more broadly. It might cost an extra Y5,000 if each person is charged.... but if it is voluntary, the cost would be quite high.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Passing out fliers won’t help much. Make it mandatory and refuse entry to uninsured tourists.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I never travel without insurance. Make it part of the visa requirement and also available on arrival.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Just charge an extra ¥500 to ¥1,000 on the landing fee for each tourist and use the money to set up a fund to pay for the unpaid bills. Problem solved. Handling out flyers is just a waste of money. If those people think they need insurance they would have bought it before landing in Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Some of the people will be overseas for the first or second time, so simple ignorance could be a big part of the problem. People just assume they won't get ill in the three or four days they are in Japan, and that it would have no consequences anyway. This means an information based campaign is not a bad idea. I would be against taxing everyone to pay for the actions of a minority.

For Japanese who don't pay, the problem is poverty or stinginess. Some stingy folks out there, unfortunately.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Simple solution. Anyone arriving applying for a tourist visa should show proof of valid travel insurance at immigration on the way into the country.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Fair enough.

I never travel without insurance. Make it part of the visa requirement and also available on arrival.

Agree with zichi.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Travel insurance is dirt cheap.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fair enough.

> I never travel without insurance. Make it part of the visa requirement and also available on arrival.

> Agree with zichi.

Agree with zichi and marcelito

0 ( +2 / -2 )

SaikoPhysco - Just add it to the cost of landing at an airport or arriving on a tour ship. 

The vast majority of travelers already have travel insurance. Are you suggesting they pay twice?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Just charge an extra ¥500 to ¥1,000 on the landing fee for each tourist and use the money to set up a fund to pay for the unpaid bills. Problem solved. Handling out flyers is just a waste of money. If those people think they need insurance they would have bought it before landing in Japan.

This coming after the uproar from the Japanese people, and everyone else as well, having to pay a departure tax, I can just imagine the riots (figuratively speaking) coming too.

Oh how are you going to determine between tourists and everyone else? It's got to be either everyone, or no one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A health charge should be part of the visa charge. Japan needs to sell health insurance.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Travel insurance people.

In this day and age absolutely ZERO excuse for any traveler not to have any, don't blame the home country for doing this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In complete agreement with zichi. Simply asking people to buy it isn't enough, so make it compulsory by making tacking it on as a part of a visa charge.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No insurance. No treatment, unless it is a life-threatening situation, and, in that case, we set up a repayment plan before you get discharged.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is hilarious all the unpaid bills in Okinawa Hospitals. I was just there and went to Adventist Medical Center as usual for a annual checkup and they were charging all Military & SOFA people a 200% increase since they don't have the usual Japanese Insurance we have. I guess they are recouping most of the money there from those poor souls since the island is flooded with them. See the flier they handed out with the 200% increase to make up for lost fees from insured tourists. https://gofile.io/?c=HyYVxU

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Britain too has major problems with the medical tourists whose prime reason for a visit is to receive free medical treatment. Even give birth.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Make it compulsory. No travel insurance, you don't get on the plane.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

with a recent surge in people leaving unpaid medical bills putting pressure on Japanese hospital budgets.

Whooooa... huge work of fiction right here. Meanwhile the medical industry is draining the Health Insurance system dry.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Charge visa fees for countries with highest offenders.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Encourage, suggest, recommend = nothing. The rest of the world doesn't suffer from collective shame over things like skipping out on unpaid bills. Make it mandatory. Treatment will be granted upon proof of payment.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Whooooa... huge work of fiction right here. Meanwhile the medical industry is draining the Health Insurance system dry.

Yep. Over prescribing is rife here, along with prescribing the most expensive form of a med, instead of the cheapest. Statins cost pennies, yet my husband's doctor kept prescribing him an eye wateringly expensive, newer drug that had more listed side effects. He got statins in the UK, they controlled his cholesterol just as well as the expensive drug.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

its simple. offenders get permanent ban of reentry.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"The vast majority of travelers already have travel insurance."

Really? How do you explain the following the stats:

Only 21% of people purchase travel insurance (only 7% of them purchase it regularly) with an astounding 78% of people responding that they either never purchase travel insurance or take a trip where it is offered.

https://thepointsguy.com/2013/06/national-travel-insurance-survey-results-who-buys-it-and-is-it-worth-it/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Don't blame it all on foreign Travelers. There are plenty of Japanese who get to the payment counter at the hospital after their treatment and tell the clerk that they are unable to pay. I've seen it myself time and again."

Really?

1) By law all Japanese have to medical insurance.

2) When you enter any hospital or clinic, you are required to show your insurance card.

3) knowing that they could not pay, they would wait until their number is called and tell the clerk I can't pay? Does that make sense?

LOL LOL again

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Make it compulsory for visitors to show proof of travel insurance at Passport Control. If they have all the documents then let them through. If they don't then give them the option of either purchasing travel insurance there and then, or they can board the next flight home.

I also have travel insurance covered through my credit card which gives me peace of mind when abroad. And I can't believe that some tourists actually don't consider travel insurance when planning a trip. That would be unthinkable to me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not hard to fix - Check travellers on entry with onus of proof on the traveller, no travel insurance allow traveller to purchase on the spot, doesn't want insurance then send home on the next available plane.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No english?? So i assume those who don't pay are coming from China, Korea, and Thailand?

I also never took an insurance, but now when i travel with my kids and wife i always take on when i book my trips.

And honestly +20-30€ to be at ease when you travel that has no price!

Make those who doesn't pay a permanent ban from Japan that's all!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The number of those coming to hospitals would be insignificant.

However, unpaid bills should be a reason for a travel ban.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@sensei258

Japanese don’t have to pay a large amount of medical expenses because we are paying the premium. However, foreigners misappropriate Japanese medical care and escape before paying for it. The loss is more than 2.5 billion yen a year. 70% of the perpetrators are Chinese and Korean, and Chinese travel agencies have the brochures on the "How to abuse the Japanese Medical".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"including one hospital where the total amount exceeded 10 million yen ($92,000)..."

In the US that amounts to one x-ray and a bottle of Tylenol...if you're lucky.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are plenty of Japanese who get to the payment counter at the hospital after their treatment and tell the clerk that they are unable to pay.

Can you distinguish the Japanese, the Chinese and Koreans, especially residential Koreans in Japan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Passing out fliers won’t help much. Make it mandatory and refuse entry to uninsured tourists.

Dont' be crazy. Even countries like Cuba don't do that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A foreign friend needed an ambulance to go to hospital. When inside the ambulance before they started the engine he was asked for his insurance card. He didn't have one. They rang at five hospitals to ask if they would accept him without insurance, they refused. The 6th accepted and the ambulance drove off. Not sure how people get treatment so easily without first showing insurance?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's messed up. Don't doctors take oaths or something? Kinda like priests not preaching til offering plate is full.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have seen old people pay as little as 78yen to visit a doctor at a hospital while the rest of us pay a LOT more.

They grizzle about foreigners, but the financial burden is a result of absurd, unfair, & financially irresponsible domestic health care policy for the aged.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have seen old people pay as little as 78yen to visit a doctor at a hospital while the rest of us pay a LOT more.

They are people who have paid their health insurance for like 40 years, and continue to so even after retirement and also extra on top for future care home. Less is paid when needing healthcare.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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