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New individual health card makes debut in Ginowan City

Date Posted: 2006-03-10

The Japanese Health Insurance Card is undergoing a transformation.

The traditional family health insurance book is being replaced by individual health cards. The single family book contained information on all family members.

Ginowan City is the first on Okinawa to implement the new cards. The new insurance cards are small plastic cards similar to a driver’s license. Each family member is to be issued his or her own card.

A new computer system is already online in Ginowan, allowing the program to be implemented. Kiyoshi Shinzato, 36, was the first to get the new cards. The Futenma area resident received three cards; one each for himself, his wife and child. “Now,” he says, “I feel so good because each family member can keep their own card. I like that it is small enough to put in a wallet or pocket.” The old family books were large, and did not fit in wallets or jacket pockets.

The new health insurance cards are convenient, and Ginowan City says it is glad to be able to put the new system into effect. With technology rapidly changing, Ginowan says the system will be very smooth.

The new health cards will soon be issued by every city, town and village.

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