National / Science & Health

Japan Finance Ministry proposes raising out-of-pocket medical costs for those 75 and over

JIJI

The Finance Ministry on Friday proposed cutting official medical service fees and raising the proportion of medical expenses paid by patients themselves, with the aim of improving the financial condition of the country’s health insurance system.

The proposals, intended to hold down social security costs that have ballooned due to the aging of Japan’s population, were made at the day’s meeting of a subcommittee of the ministry’s Fiscal System Council, which advises the finance minister.

But the proposals are expected to face opposition from medical personnel and those who will be bearing heavier cost burdens if they are implemented.

Under the current system, the proportion of medical expenses paid by patients stands at 20 percent for people age 70 to 74. The ratio is reduced to 10 percent for people age 75 and above.

Seeing the need to review the balance between the burden on the working generation and that on the elderly, the ministry has called for the patients’ share to be kept at 20 percent going forward for people who turn 75.