Friday, June 15, 2018

Medical cost unpaid by foreign patients?

Japan government is considering to restrict foreigners to reenter Japan when they have unpaid medical fees in the past visit.

The Japan News: Visitors who ditch medical fees to be barred from reentering Japan

Recently, the situation of unpaid medical fees by foreign patients was surveyed in Japan. According to the media, some serious cases were found in which a large amount of the cost was still compensated.

Therefore, the government is planning to check the medical history of foreigners at the immigration office. When the unpaid fee was identified, he or she will not be permitted to re-enter Japan.

I hardly understand this policy, to be honest. Indeed, foreign patients often cause troubles in a hospital, partially because they have no medical insurance valid in Japan. Since almost all Japanese patients are subjected to the national health insurance, medical practitioners are not familiar with dealing with patients without health insurance. Most hospitals do not have individual divisions to collect the unpaid medical fees.

On the other hand, I am not sure about the impact of unpaid fees by foreigners on the financial situation of each hospital. Some media emphasize the cases in which a significant amount of cost cannot be compensated. But, there are few foreign patients themselves. Also, there are many Japanese patients who are not willing to pay the medical fee responsible to the patients (usually 30% of the total medical cost. 70% is covered by the insurance.)

In addition, foreign people who taking medical service in Japan accidentally are likely to be relatively poor. Regardless of the ways, it is difficult to take money from poor people.

Therefore, I think quite doubtful that the cost to investigate the medical history of all foreigner visiting Japan match the effect of improved rate of collecting medical fees from foreign patients.

In recent, some Japanese are indulged to attack weaker people, such as elderly and pensioners, to manage their negative emotion. I am afraid that Japan will become more hostile to aliens.

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