Photo/Illutration The My Number online portal site operated by the government (Provided by the Digital Agency)

More instances of human error have cropped up in the embattled Individual Number Card system, more popularly known as the My Number Card, that has fast become the primary source of I.D. when dealing with the bureaucracy or undergoing health care.

At least 170 cases have emerged in which individuals accessing the government’s My Number online portal site were mistakenly presented with pension data of a stranger, according to several government sources.

The pension data had been inputted manually into the My Number portal system, leading to the mix-up, according to sources who said the problem was later fixed.

“This was simply a matter of human error,” said one source.

A check was under way to detect other glitches in the system.

The latest revelations follow recent reports of improper linking of the My Number Card with health insurance information, which led some individuals to inadvertently access the medical information of strangers. In other cases, people who tried to obtain copies of their family register using their My Number Card at convenience stores received details of a different individual.

In a related development, a report released June 9 by a national organization of doctors working within the health insurance system turned up cases of individuals being slapped with paying medical bills in full despite having health insurance under the My Number Card system.

The group reported 533 cases nationwide since April in which individuals using their My Number Card as proof of health insurance membership were notified at the medical institution they received treatment that their card was invalid.

Because confirmation could not be made that the individual was a genuine member of the health insurance program, he or she had to pay the entire cost of the medical visit. Normally, patients pay 30 percent upfront with their health insurance program covering the remainder.

Those individuals who paid the full amount later received a refund for the 70 percent that should have been paid by the insurance program.

It was not immediately clear why the My Number Cards were judged to be invalid.

According to the study, a total of 6,062 medical institutions in 35 prefectures that have installed the My Number Card system were surveyed. Of that number, 64.8 percent of the institutions experienced at least one instance of a patient’s My Number Card being deemed to be either invalid or not part of the health insurance program.

The 533 individuals were told to pay the entire amount of their medical visit.

There were also 85 cases in which the medical institution found medical information of a stranger linked to the My Number Card presented by a patient.

The health ministry came under a blizzard of criticism when it set a guideline for patients found to have invalid My Number Cards to pay the entire amount upfront.

On June 2, the ministry revised the guideline to allow patients to only pay the normal 30 percent if their birthdate on the My Number Card was correct.

But that change leaves open the possibility that medical institutions will have to cover the medical expenses of individuals who are then found not to be part of any health insurance program.

(This article was written by Hayato Murai and Yuriko Suzuki.)