You may find that healthcare providers are very different than what you are used to in your home country. The Japanese healthcare system is based around the socialized medicine model, making it a very inexpensive way to stay receive healthcare. However, there are some trade-offs. You will also find 2 different locations for providing healthcare. One is at a typical hospital, usually associated with some university, and the other is through small local clinics specializing in certain areas of healthcare, i.e. OB/GYN, Maternity, ENT, etc.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you are signed up under your company’s health insurance plan. Make sure all family members are included. Typically, you will pay 15% – 30% of the charges, meaning a simple visit to the doctor usually runs less than エ1000 or about US$10.

What is the trade-off? Be prepared to spend a half-day when visiting a major hospital or 2 hours for a smaller clinic. Also many doctors are not used to being questioned about their prescriptions or instructions, so don’t be afraid to keep pressing for an answer to any questions you may have. You may also find the conditions at many hospitals a little less shiny than you may be used to. Other than that, you will find the healthcare provided in Japan to be on par with most Western countries.

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