Unpaid Medical Bills by Visitors Without Travel Insurance (保険未加入の訪日外国人の医療費未払い問題)

Recently, our company have been getting a lot of calls from different hospitals around Japan. This is because some foreign visitors who came to Japan without travel insurance ended up getting hospitalized and are now unable to settle their medical bills. Unfortunately, this problem continues to increase in proportion to the number of visitors in Japan.

According to the recent data, the number of foreign visitors who came to Japan from 2010 to 2017 has increased threefold. Surprisingly, about 33% of these visitors do not have travel insurance. It seemed as if they underestimate how problematic it could be. However, according to Sonpo Japan Niooinkoa, “approximately one in 25 visitors to Japan gets injured or suffers from an illness during their stay in the country.” It is estimated that around 3,200 visitors received medical treatment every day last 2018.

Medical expenses are very expensive in Japan especially if without insurance. For example, when a patient who suffered from a heart attack gets treated, he will be charged around USD 28,000. On the other hand, a lower leg fracture surgery will cost up to USD 30,000.

These unpaid medical expenses of foreign visitors has recently become a social problem in Japan. Although the exact amount of loss in unknown, it is estimated that around USD 600, 000 worth of losses are incurred in Osaka prefecture alone. This is why the Japanese government is concerned that this loss might dramatically increase anytime soon especially because of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Thus, we are encouraging all visitors to apply for a travel insurance before coming to Japan. Even if you forget to get it before your arrival, you can still get an insurance with a good deal once you arrive in Japan.


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