Corporate health insurance unions are facing "quite serious" financial conditions amid the country's graying population, Mr Masahiro Sano, vice chairman of the National Federation of Health Insurance Societies, or Kenporen, has said.
He warned that Japan’s universal health care system could collapse unless premiums payable by elderly patients aged 75 or older is at least doubled, according to a report by Jiji Press.
“There have been unions that couldn’t hike premiums and had no choice but to dissolve,” he said.
Currently, people in the so-called late-elderly group pay 10% of their medical bills, with the rest covered by health insurance.
To prevent the universal health care system from collapsing, Sano said that the elderly self-coverage rate should be raised to 20%.
He also said there are two other options: covering elderly medical costs with taxpayer money or further increasing insurance premiums for working generations.
“The root of the problem is the (rising) cost of elderly medical expenses, but there’s no prospect for its resolution,” he said.
Kenporen, for its part, will promote efforts to help elderly people stay healthy and raise awareness among young people about medical system issues, he said.