It has been for me. It's saved me a lot of hassle because I live in a small town up north where no one speaks English. I just have to give them my name and my card.
Actually, I heard that it's reasonable per month for the first year, but I'm just trying to stay healthy. In my contract my work says it's my responsibility -- they don't pay. No one seems to know the law.
Michael J. Case
If you've got a family, definitely, especially as children under 5 are free. I joined when I got here 5 years ago, but if you make a lot of money and you don't have a family, it's not worth it.
I thought about joining the Japanese system, but my friends told me how expensive it got after your second year, and I was expecting my income to rise, so I didn't join.
I have private health insurance, which is worthwhile for me because I travel a lot. The only real benefit to national health insurance is that everyone accepts it.
I'm on the plan for students and it's great. You get 70 percent reimbursed and pay around 1,000 yen or 2,000 yen. Even if I was working here and it was more, I'd still pay because insurance is important.