A few days ago, I met an acquaintance who has contracted COVID-19, and now I have a fever and don't feel well. I have contacted my employer, and I am waiting for the results of a PCR test. If the result is positive, my company says I will have to take time off work to be hospitalized for treatment. What happens with my medical expenses? And what happens to my wages while I'm not working?
As the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has designated COVID-19 as a "Designated Infectious Disease" (shitei kansen-shō / 指定感染症) (from 13 February 2021, classified as "Novel Influenza Infection, etc." [shingata infuruenza tō kansen-shō / 新型インフルエンザ等感染症]) based on the Act on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases (感染症の予防及び感染症の患者に対する医療に関する法律), medical expenses incurred during hospitalization are primarily covered by public funds. If you are not hospitalized, but receive diagnosis and treatment from a visiting doctor at an accommodation facility (such as a hotel) or at home, the amount of expenses borne by the patient is subsidized.
As for PCR tests, in the case of individuals deemed to require a test (or who have been recognized as a high-risk contact [nōkō sesshoku-sha / 濃厚接触者] requiring a test) at a medical facility entrusted to conduct the PCR test by the municipal government or at a health center (hokenjo / 保健所), the fee for the test is basically free. (The user may be required to bear the cost of the doctor's consultation fee, medical expenses not related to COVID-19, and other sundry expenses if hospitalized.) The exact amount of expenses will vary depending on the patient's condition and symptoms, and we are unable to speculate on what you might expect to pay.
When you are unable to work for a long time due to treatment and recuperation from illness, etc., if you are enrolled in social insurance (shakai hoken / 社会保険), or health insurance for employees, you can apply for accident and sickness benefits (shōbyō teate / 傷病手当金) for leave you are required to take after the fourth day. The amount received as accident and sickness benefits will be equivalent to around two thirds of your regular wages. If it is determined that your COVID-19 infection was acquired through your duties, you will also be eligible to receive worker's accident insurance (rōsai hoken / 労災保険).
Under the National Health Insurance (kokumin kenkō hoken / 国民健康保険) as administered by the City of Nagoya, employees who have contracted COVID-19 (including individuals with fever and other symptoms who are suspected of having contracted COVID-19) can apply to receive accident and sickness benefits. For residents of other municipalities, please consult your local government office's National Health Insurance counter to confirm what assistance is available.
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