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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 10 - 16  > 349K households in arrears with national health insurance premiums had their assets seized in 2017
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2019 April 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

349K households in arrears with national health insurance premiums had their assets seized in 2017

April 14, 2019

Welfare Ministry survey data shows that in FY2017, the number of households whose property was seized due to delinquency in paying national health insurance premiums reached 349,000. The number has tripled over the past decade, Akahata learned on April 13.

As of the end of FY2017, one in every four, or 28.7 million people were covered by the National Health Insurance program which is administrated at the local government level. Non-regular workers and elderly people make up the bulk of insurance policyholders.

The average annual income per insured household under the NHI scheme is about one million yen. Meanwhile, the national health insurance premium is on the rise throughout Japan. In some municipalities, NHI policyholders are required to pay insurance premiums equivalent to 20% of their income.

Under this circumstance, as of June 2018, more than 920,000 households experienced the confiscation of their insurance cards after falling behind in their insurance premium payments. Among the 920,000 households, 753,000 received “short-term insurance cards” which become invalid within one-six months and 171,000 were granted a “temporary insurance certificate”. Temporary certificate holders are required to pay the full amount of medical fees at hospitals and clinics.

Many cases were reported where people, who have no regular insurance cards due to difficulty in paying insurance premiums, hesitated to see a doctor which made their illnesses worse and some even died.

Nevertheless, the Abe government has been promoting the outrageous sequestration of the property of public health insurance delinquents and has introduced a system under which the state budget will be allocated selectively to municipalities pushing forward with the compulsory seizure of assets for nonpayment of public health insurance premiums.

The Japanese Communist Party has been demanding that the forcible seizure of properties be eliminated as such an outrage will drive NHI premium delinquents into further poverty and urges the government to use one trillion yen in public funds to drastically reduce NHI premium burdens. The National Governors’ Association has also submitted a similar request to the central government.

Past related articles:
> JCP Kasai calls for ‘sunshine’ approach to reduce number of people in arrears in national health insurance premiums [February 21, 2019]
> Min-iren survey: 77 people died in 2018 because of reluctance to go to hospital due to financial constraints [March 7 and 8, 2019]
> JCP Kurabayashi: Don’t take property away from people in arrears with national health insurance premiums [February 2, 2018]
> List of Past issues
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