Persons 75 years and older will be made to pay health insurance premiums

The Koizumi Cabinet on March 28 approved another adverse revision of the medical insurance system.

In the new system, persons 75 years and older who are dependents in salaried worker households will be made to pay their health insurance premiums. The number of such persons is estimated to be 2.35 million in 2007.

Under the current medical system for elderly people, this group is exempt from paying premiums, and the cost is funded by premiums paid by working people and public subsidies from the central government and local municipalities. The cabinet decided to abolish this system and replace it with a new medical insurance system for persons 75 years and older (reaching an estimated 12 million by 2007).

The cabinet decision also states that the government-controlled health insurance covering small business employees will be reorganized and incorporated into prefectural administration. All the prefectures, including Tokyo and Hokkaido, are opposed to the reorganization, criticizing it as an example of the central government abandoning its responsibility in operating national health insurance systems. (end)

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