Healthcare in Brussels

 

 

Belgium's top-performing economy may be viewed as the main factor for the medical security that people Brussels enjoy. Whether one is a citizen or an expatriate, every person has easy access to medical care which does not vary in quality regardless of social status. 

The Belgian healthcare system is known for being one of the best in Europe and Brussels is one of the best cities to experience world-class medical facilities as well as treatments. Expatriates bound here are required by law to have health insurance either from the state, their employer or from a private company. Brussels’ healthcare system is funded through the State Sickness Fund, which is operated by the central government, national association, federations of local societies and the local mutual aid societies. The government highly believes that this scheme of power-sharing motivates each one to work harder to satisfy the population of over two million people in Brussels, including citizens and expatriates when it comes to safeguarding health. 

Healthcare for Expatriates 

Residents, including employees and self-employed individuals, will need to register with social security and begin making contributions to a health insurance fund, also known as the State Sickness Fund, which finances the city’s healthcare system. Contributions to the health insurance fund (mutuelle/ziekenfonds) are equivalent to 7.35% of the employees’ gross salary whereas 3.55% is shouldered by the worker and the other 3.8% paid for by the employer while those that are self-employed pay the full 7.35%. Expats from European Union countries, on the other hand, are allowed to use their European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) but need to register as well for the State Sickness Fund once they decide to take up employment or live in Brussels permanently. 

Foreign assignees will receive a social security card also called as eID which they need to take with them at all times when availing healthcare services in Brussels. However, people have to wait for five to six months (from the date of enrollment) before they are able to receive their benefits. 

Visiting a Doctor 

A majority of doctors in Brussels are working within the State Sickness Fund while others are working under the private sector. In Brussels, patients have the flexibility of choosing their General Practitioner and are allowed to see a specialist even without a referral from a GP. When visiting one's physician, people have to pay a certain amount of their medical bill by themselves along with fees they typically pay to their doctor or the hospital. Receipts must be submitted for reimbursement which is done through direct deposits into the claimant's bank account. At the same time, most of the people take out supplementary health insurance to cover the portion of the bill which is not reimbursed, and many employers provide their workers with this opportunity by making health insurance an employment benefit. 

Manning Brussels' public and private hospitals are well-trained medical staffs who work with state-of-the-art medical equipment and, at the same time, do clerical jobs themselves. It is not uncommon to find doctors answering phone calls or filling up record sheets, as it is not their practice to hire secretaries or administrative staff. However, the quality of medical care and service extended to patients is remarkably maintained. It is also not a practice to admit walk-in patients. This means appointments are very important for one to be able to consult a doctor. If the case is an emergency, the patient is automatically referred to the emergency room staff. 

Hospitals in Brussels 

Brussels has an abundance of private hospitals (hôpitaux/ziekenhuisen), poly-clinics and university hospitals that offer nothing but the highest quality of services. Public healthcare is provided through the city hospitals which are operational twenty-four hours a day. As a patient is admitted, assigned staff will be providing primary care while other employees will inquire from the patient or a watcher about insurance coverage details. Major public hospitals in Brussels are organised under the prestigious Iris Assocation whilst others are members of the Belgian Hospital Association. Some of the most prominent hospitals found in the capital of Belgium are: 

Campus Jette, Laarbeeklaan 101, B-1090

Rue de Linthout 150, 1040

Rue Haute 322, B1000

Route de Lennik 808, 1070 

Emergency Services 

For emergency cases, staff will only ask for the social security system card or any proof that would show that that patient is covered by insurance. The hospital requires a deposit unless an arrangement with the patient's insurance provider dictates that the company be billed directly. Emergency patients do not have to settle their hospital bills weekly until their condition stabilises. 

Expatriates who are new in the city will do well familiarising themselves with the local government's emergency hotlines. The number to call is 112 for emergencies that need services not only of the medical staff but also of the police, a rescue unit, or the fire department. For strictly medical emergencies, the hotline to call is 141 while to call an ambulance, one must dial 144.

 

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