Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Switching from Shakai-Hoken to Kokumin-Hoken, and Macaroni

First off, for those who don't know what I'm talking about, Shakai-Hoken is employee health insurance that is half-covered by companies in Japan. Kokumin-Hoken is National Health Insurance that anyone can sign up for (foreigners if they are going to be there for at least a year and can prove it).

So today, I would like to talk about switching from Shakai-Hoken to Kokumin-Hoken (NHI). I had some issues switching over, and thought I should discuss it. I initially was registered in Shakai-Hoken with AEON. It was done automatically by the company, and I didn't need to do anything to register. However, on my last day, I had to turn in my company issued insurance card.

The next day, I went to the ward office in my area to register my change of address and to sign up for NHI. Before going, I checked my ward office's website to see what I needed to bring. The site said: passport or ARC, and hanko (personal stamp). So at the ward office, I first registered my change of address which was simple enough. Then the lady asked if I was still enrolled in Shakai-Hoken, and I said no and wanted to register to Kokumin (since I'm not employed at the moment). So she told me to take the copy of change of address that I had filled out over to the counter in charge of NHI in addition to the other required stuff. When it was my turn, I told guy that I wanted to register for Kokumin-Hoken, and showed me my ARC and the paper that I was given. This is where things got complicated and I got extremely confused. He kept telling me I needed some kind of paper that I didn't have. I had brought the Employment Insurance Certificate (雇用保険被保険者証) that AEON had given me and thought that was what he wanted. In the end, he pulled out a sheet of paper and circled the things I needed.

There are three things he noted. The bottom circle were the Change of Address paper, and my hanko. The FIRST option is what I had no clue about, and was never told about: 資格喪失証明書 (Shikaku Soushitsu Shoumeishou). This is basically a piece of paper that proves that you are no longer paying into the Shakai-Hoken system and you no longer qualify for it (or that was my basic understanding). The paper has your name, birthday, address, and first day you were out of the program. It also includes your Shakai-Hoken number information. It took me some time to figure out what this thing was, because it's normally retirees who get this. I suppose that when most AEON teachers leave the company, they go home, so they don't need to deal with this, OR their new companies keep them in Shakai-Hoken. Regardless, I was able to get the document through some e-mails that got to the correct person and received the document. Once I had the precious Shoumeishou, I was able to register for NHI no problem, and got my card in the mail today. I am hoping to get back into Shakai-Hoken but, I'd rather be safe than sorry, and need the insurance anyway (eye appointments, etc.). So, that was something I did not expect but am glad I know about now. I know that people don't recommend foreigners to register for NHI, but I decided, what the hell?

Also, I found an awesome recipe for Macaroni and Cheese using your rice cooker!! I did have to change it up a bit, and experiment, because my local supermarket didn't have everything. Instead of using chicken broth, I bought chicken bouillon cubes and used 1 cube in 300 ml of water. I used two cups of macaroni noodles (using the cup from my rice cooker). I couldn't get my hands on cheddar jack cheese either, so I substituted with sliced Kraft cheese that I grated using a fine grater (it ended up kind of powdery). I also estimated on the milk, instead of measuring. I just like to eye-ball it and always have. Either way, it was amazing!!! It tasted like the macaroni from Luby's at home which I kind of love. I highly recommend trying it.

Well, that's all everyone.



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  2. Though this entry was a little old, the procedure is still the same. It was very helpful to have it written out, especially as the documents needed aren't typically provided unless asked for! Thank you very much!