The Health Ministry plans to raise the cap placed on the amount of premiums paid annually by members of the national health insurance programme by JPY40,000 (US$355) to reach JPY770,000 in the fiscal year beginning on 1 April 2018 (FY2018). The cap will be raised for the first time in two years.
Due to rising medical costs, municipalities have been raising the premiums collected from members of the national health insurance programme, including self-employed people, every year, reported Jiji Press.
While each municipality decides the amount of premiums for residents under the national health insurance programme, the state sets the uniform upper limit on annual premiums. Currently, the annual premium charged to a single-person household with an annual income of JPY10.2 million on average among municipalities reaches the upper limit of JPY730,000. The same amount is charged on those earning more.
If the limit is raised to JPY770,000, members of the insurance programme earning JPY10.65 million or more annually will pay the highest premium.
The increase of premiums collected from high-income earners is expected to allow municipalities to keep the amount of premiums at levels affordable for the middle class.
From 2008 to 2016, the Health Ministry lifted the upper limit six times, by margins of JPY20,000 to JPY40,000. It will consider raising the cap in FY2019 and beyond in view of the national health insurance programme’s shaky fiscal condition.