Medical costs hit record ¥44.2 trillion in FY2021

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Medical costs in Japan in fiscal 2021 rose 4.6% from the previous year to a record high of ¥44.2 trillion, due to swelled coronavirus-related expenses on top of population aging and the use of expensive cutting-edge technologies, the health ministry said Friday.

The growth rate was also the steepest, reflecting a decline in fiscal 2020 after many people refrained from going to the doctor on fears of contracting the novel virus.

The costs comprise payments from the public health insurance system, taxpayers’ money and out-of-pocket costs shouldered by patients, excluding costs fully paid by patients and those covered by the worker compensation system.

The preliminary total shown by the ministry accounts for roughly 98% of the entire medical expenses in the country in the year that ended in March.