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Healthcare and Medical Treatment

Belgium - Healthcare and Medical Treatment

Belgium has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe.

Medical care is publicly funded through the compulsory state insurance system which covers the majority of the population, along with a number of private schemes. Contributions to the state scheme are deducted automatically from employee salaries. Medical fees are usually reimbursed up to around three quarters of the cost, with individuals having to top up the payments. For this reason many people also have supplementary private health insurance.

Although the social security system including health insurance is regulated by the Federal Government, the provision of health services is the responsibility of individual provinces and regions. Primary health care is mostly delivered via private practice.

On commencing employment in Belgium, foreign nationals are required to join either the state insurance scheme or a private scheme. You will be issued with a Social Security Identity card which should be shown whenever you receive treatment from a doctor or hospital, along with stickers which are to be attached to the doctor's bill in order for the insurance payment to be processed.

You can choose to see any doctor or specialist consultant or attend any hospital in Belgium, without referral. You can also see practitioners offering alternative treatments, such as homeopathy, acupuncture and osteopathy, as long as they are registered as qualified with the government.

You are likely to have to pay a proportion of your medical fees at the time of your treatment, and if you have private insurance you will have to pay the full amount up front and claim reimbursement from the insurance company.

Most dentists are in private practice in Belgium, although some will accept state insurance for partial payment of treatment.

The emergency numbers for an ambulance are 100 or 112.

Pharmacies usually operate a rota system so that there will be 24-hour coverage in any area.

When it comes to general practitioners and specialists in non-emergency medicine, there are a number of doctors in Brussels that speak English. The US Embassy in Belgium has compiled an excellent listing of English speaking doctors in Belgium (mainly Brussels and Antwerp) including addresses, phone numbers, and websites. This document can be found at http://belgium.usembassy.gov/media/pdf/doctor-list-2010.pdf

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.