Information for Patients
The healthcare system in Belgium is divided into public and private, with both requiring the payment of insurance, and does not differentiate between employed and unemployed. This insurance covers 50-75% of the costs for doctors, hospitals, and clinics, and residents pay for the remainder of the unsubsidized services. Upon an initial registration with the Belgian social security agency called mutuelle in French or ziekenfonds in Dutch, registrants will receive a Carte SIS, now known as an eID to take to the insurance company of their choice. Patients usually pay up-front before Reimbursements by their particular health insurance fund. Many residents layer a private health insurance on top of their public provision.
Information for Health Care Professionals
Some medical professionals provide both public and private services. Belgians who wish to pursue a career as a doctor require 7 years of education after completing high school. Accreditation is granted by the Minister of Public Health upon further training. The last step requires registration with the Order of Physicians, an institution which investigates illegal and unethical practices and has the power to take action against a practicing doctor, including revoking permission to practice.
Foreign medical professionals seeking to practice in Belgium must request recognition or have their diploma declared equivalent. A full chart describing which route to take is found on the Vlaanderen website reference link.
Information for Travelers
Travelers from the European Union and Britain (pre-Brexit) have free access to healthcare, while it is recommended that travelers from other countries purchase travel insurance. British travelers will still have the advantage of using their European Health Insurance Card until December 31, 2020. Note, the EHIC card is not an alternative to travel insurance, so services such as medical repatriation, ongoing treatment, and non-urgent treatment are not covered. Also note that Belgians must pay an unsubsidized portion of their hospital costs, thus, travelers should have available funds before traveling to Belgium.
Link to the ministry of health: https://www.health.belgium.be/en