Japanese health care is awesome.

The “minor cold” I had has developed into a cough that keeps me up at night and congestion that feels as though it may split my head in two. They decided that I should go to the doctor. Only here, they say hospital instead of doctor. “Jen, Kazumi-san will pick you up at 9:30 to take you to hospital.” It sounds extreme until you figure out that they really just mean a small clinic. And you don’t make an appointment – you just show up. Amazingly enough, I only had to wait about 10 minutes. Awesome thing #1 about Japanese health care – you don’t have to wait for 3 hours just because you didn’t make an appointment. The doctor was really nice and spoke English. He even gave me my choice of asthma medication. But then he told me which one he thought would be best, so maybe he was only trying to make me feel comfortable.

Anyway, I had given the nurse at the desk my pink National Health Insurance card, which I received my 1st day here (awesome thing #2 about Japanese health care). I knew that my plan covered 70%, meaning I would be responsible for 30%. So I’m wondering how much a visit costs, and then I’m looking at the 5 prescriptions he gave me and I’m doind a little math in my head. It just made me feel worse. But while I’m calculating, I see the nurse come out to the desk with a bunch of pill packets in her hands, and I realize they’re for me. So awesome thing #3 about Japanese health care – you don’t have to make an extra trip to the pharmacy.

The nurse calls me up to the desk to pay my bill. I’m kinda nervous at this point, because I know back home my prescription coverage required me to pay $25 for brand names, and I know that at least 2 of these are brand names. Plus, I still have to pay for the visit. But she handed me the bill and, awesome thing #4 about Japanese health care, the total was under $30!

I feel much better, thanks.