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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 December 12 - 18  > Gov’t will impose heavier burdens on low-income elderly while setting largest-ever military buildup budget
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2018 December 12 - 18 [POLITICS]

Gov’t will impose heavier burdens on low-income elderly while setting largest-ever military buildup budget

December 14, 2018

The Welfare Ministry on December 13 decided to abolish its special measure to allow the low-income elderly to pay up to 90% lower premiums into the healthcare insurance system for the elderly aged 75 and over.

It has also come to light that the total amount of tax revenues earmarked for the newly-drafted five-year military buildup program starting from FY2019 will reach a record high of 27.5 trillion yen.

At present, at least 7.4 million elderly people aged 75 and older who earn a yearly pension income of less than 1.68 million yen receive preferential treatment in their premium payment for the medical insurance system. Under the special measure regarding insurance premiums, elderly people whose annual pension income is less than 800,000 yen pay an average of 380 yen a month and those whose annual pension income is 800,000 yen or more but less than 1.68 million yen pay 570 yen on average. With the abolition of the special measure, all these people will have to pay 1,140 yen every month.

The Welfare Ministry intends to end its measure to ease premium burdens in October 2019. In the same month, the consumption tax rate will be raised to 10% from the current 8%.

The ministry claims that the impact on low-income pensioners from the abolition of the special measure will be limited, citing the government plan to prevent possible negative effects caused from the consumption tax hike. Under the plan, low-income pension recipients will be able to receive a maximum of 5,000 yen in additional benefits per month.

However, the planned government program will not be applied to all pensioners currently covered by the premium reduction measure. The abolition of the measure will inevitably deliver a serious blow to low-income seniors’ livelihoods and health.

Past related articles:
> Record 13,000 elderly people have their life savings seized due to arrears in nursing-care insurance premiums [July 10, 2017]
> Japan has become a health gap society: health care expert [December 27, 2016]
> Government breaks its promise to use increased tax revenues to improve social welfare programs [April 3, 2015]
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