The Belgian healthcare is based on the Social Security system. You pay the visit at the surgery and prescriptions or medicines at the pharmacist. If the system of direct payment (tiers-payant, see below) is not applied, you must put the stickers of the medical boxes on your prescription and send everything to the medical organisation in charge of giving the refund of what you pre-paid.
The amount of refund from the insurance in the cost of the act varies according to the status of the doctor (General Practitioner or private practitioner), the kind of act and the status of the patient. There are 3 types of practitioner:
The part that remains in charge of the patient is called quote-part personnelle or ticket modérateur (share). Usually it is 25 %.
People who are registered with a medical record (called dossier médical global - DMG) and who have chosen a specific GP (it is always possible to visit another GP but the chosen GP - médecin traitant - will centralized the data of the DMG), get a 30% discount of the quote-part for the acts in the surgery (medical visits at home are not counted). The patient asks to update the record in the DMG at each visit.
With a prescription done by the GP, you do not pay usually the full amount. The refund is automatically applied in advance. It is called the tiers-payant.
Pharmacies are open from Monday morning to Friday evening and often on Saturday morning. Some pharmacies provides, in a rota, a 24h service on Saturday afternoon and Sunday (addresses are displayed each month on the windows of the pharmacists).
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Brussels is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Belgium. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Belgium: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Belgium, visit our partner APRIL International