Japan: Govt mulls move to cover some costs of transplants overseas
Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jan 2018
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is considering a measure to cover part of expenses shouldered by patients who undergo organ transplants abroad, so as to ease their financial burden.
The Ministry is looking to begin offering insurance payments as early as the next fiscal year that starts on 1 April, Kyodo News Agency reported citing sources close to the matter.
The insurance payment is likely to be around JPY10 million (US$88,100) per patient, similar to the amount given to cover fees for surgery and other hospital charges for a transplant carried out in Japan.
It would cost JPY200-300 million for a patient to go abroad to undergo organ transplant surgery, including travel expenses. There will likely be fewer than 10 patients, mostly children, who are expected to benefit from the insurance coverage every year. Since 1988, 116 children under 18 have travelled abroad for heart transplantations.
Around 14,000 patients in Japan need organ transplants, compared with about 100 cases of donations taking place per year. But some experts said that the Japanese government might be seen as advocating organ transplants overseas, which would be against the international principle that urges each country to secure the needed organs domestically. A