I had cosmetic tattoos done on my eyebrows, and had ink injected under the skin, and I had a lot of swelling around my eyes afterwards. I had the swelling treated at a hospital, but I was told that I couldn't use health insurance for it. Why? Where can I send the bill for my treatment?
In this case, the swelling around your eyes for which you needed medical treatment resulted from the procedure of having ink put under your skin, so the symptoms appeared after the procedure carried out by the cosmetic tattoo practitioner, a third party (第三者 / daisansha). It seems that the hospital staff determined that when there is a third party (the injuring party, 加害者 / kagaisha) who has caused the injury or illness, the injury or illness cannot be directly covered by health insurance at a hospital.
This is because when an injury is caused by a third party (the injuring party), in principle it is considered that the injuring party should bear the cost of medical treatment, for example when one is injured in a car accident, or a fight, or by a falling object on a building site, or when bitten by another person's dog, and so on.
However, even in situations where an injury was caused by a third party, it is still possible to receive treatment on health insurance, as long as the injury was not sustained at work or when commuting to or from work (these will be work-related injuries, 労災 / rōsai). To do this, one must state at the hospital counter that the injury was caused by a third party, and also submit a Notification of Injury by Act of a Third Party (第三者の行為による傷病届 / daisansha no kōi ni yoru shōbyō todoke) to the health insurance provider (保険者 / hokensha). The health insurance provider will then request payment of the related medical expenses from the third party.
In this case, where you haven't used health insurance for the medical treatment expenses, the responsibility of the cosmetic tattoo practitioner will be questioned, so you will need items of evidence demonstrating the causal relationship between your symptoms and the cosmetic procedure, and you will need to negotiate with the practitioner. To ensure that the negotiation goes smoothly, it is a good idea to seek a legal consultation with a lawyer, and other advice from an expert.
Incidentally, cosmetic tattooing is considered a medical procedure in Japan. If you have an issue with a particular practitioner, consult the public health center (保健所 / hokenjo) with jurisdiction over practitioner's premises.
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