Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet enacted Wednesday a bill to allow the use of My Number tax and social security identification cards as health insurance cards presented at hospitals.
The bill to revise the health insurance law was approved by a majority vote at a plenary session of the House of Councillors. The bill passed the other chamber, the House of Representatives, last month.
The revision is aimed at making the My Number cards more convenient, promoting an increase in the number of holders of the integrated circuit-embedded smart cards and improving the accuracy of identity confirmations at medical institutions.
The government hopes to put the revised law into force in March 2021.
Following the enforcement, medical institutions will be able to check information stored on the My Number cards by using card readers.
For instance, they can confirm the status of the holders in the county’s public health insurance system, mainly by making an inquiry to organizations that examine payments from the insurance system.
The envisaged use of the My Number cards as health insurance cards is expected to reduce the need for health insurance societies to issue health insurance cards.
At present, only slightly over 10 percent of the public own My Number cards. The government hopes to increase the rate as part of its efforts to realize a digital society in which various procedures are completed online.
Meanwhile, how to help medical institutions prepare themselves for the use of My Number cards is likely to be a problem.
The revised law also includes a new provision to exclude in principle dependents of eligible residents living abroad from the nation’s public health insurance coverage, as the number of foreign workers is expected to increase.
The provision, designed to cut medical expenses and prevent fraudulent use of public health insurance, is scheduled to enter into force in April 2020.
The provision will also make it necessary for the spouses of members of the “kosei nenkin” public pension program for corporate employees to be residents of the country, in order to become entitled to the basic old-age pension without paying premiums.