• Politics & Government

Japan Decides to Abolish Health Insurance Cards Dec. 2, 2024 (UPDATE 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A sample My Number identification card

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government adopted an ordinance Friday to abolish the current health insurance cards Dec. 2, 2024, for integration into My Number social security and tax identification cards.

The new issuance of health insurance cards will be terminated on the day. Existing cards within the period of validity will remain usable for up to a year under a one-off measure.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the current cards will be abolished in autumn 2024 as planned, when the government earlier this month released the results of its comprehensive inspection of the problem-plagued My Number system.

In the ordinance, the government chose a date just before the legally set deadline for the abolition on Dec. 8, 2024, taking into account the time necessary for local governments and medical institutions to prepare for the full shift to My Number cards with health insurance certificate functions.

Alternative health insurance eligibility certificates valid for up to five years will be issued so that people without a My Number card can keep receiving medical services covered by the national insurance scheme.

Despite the planned abolition, the use of My Number cards as health insurance certificates remains sluggish. Only 4.5% of patients used My Number for such a purpose in October.

“Promoting the use of My Number cards as health insurance certificates is an urgent task,” health minister Keizo Takemi told a press conference, calling for medical institutions, the business community and others to cooperate so that the benefits of the cards will be felt by as many people as possible.