When it comes to Belgium's healthcare system, it's important to first note that it's put in place by law. Similarly to that of other countries, the citizens and residents of Belgium are required to be covered in accordance with the national system. If you pay taxes to the Belgian government, you are legally required to get health insurance. If you're legally allowed to stay, work, and live in Belgium, you're mandated to get insurance. And it's this sort of obligation that helps prop the system up and remain effective for everyone in the country.
If you went to Belgium, will you be able to gain access to the Belgian healthcare system? Well, it depends. Generally speaking, only citizens and legal residents of the country are allowed to access the healthcare system. Once you've got a social security number and your continuously contribute to it, you'll be allowed to get the subsidized public healthcare that the state provides. However, even if you're not a citizen or resident of the country, you can still get private healthcare. But this option is a lot priced than the public one, meaning you'll have to shell out more money for the services.
The medical healthcare system in Belgium differs from its neighbors in terms of carrying the system out within the different parts of the country. As a whole, the Federal Public Service for Health, Food Chain Safety, and the Environment is the national entity that carries out the public option of the system. But even this organization is divided into the various communities that make up the community. The German, Flemish, Walloon, and French-speaking communities have their own entities to look up to when it comes to the overall healthcare system. This makes communicating easier and more effective in the long run.
As already mentioned, Belgium's medical healthcare system remains intact because of the tax contributions of the country's citizens and residents. But where does all the money go, exactly? Well, around 50% to 70% of all contributions go to pay for the doctors, clinics, hospitals, and various institutions that offer healthcare services. They're all able to remain in service thanks to the taxes. Around 20%, on the other hand, is given to the costs of prescription and other important drugs in the country. While the remaining 30% to 20% are given to both dental and maternity costs.
It's relatively simple to register for the Belgian healthcare system. In fact, all you need to do is to get a social security number and you're practically all set. And to get a social security number, all you'll need is a valid ID (passport/driver's license will do), your residence permit, and proof of address (your rental bill will work). More often than not, it's your place of employment that gives you your public insurance as part of the package of working for the business. However, this will depends if the nature of the company actually has the capacity to grant this right.
Women in Belgium are lucky when it comes to healthcare, particularly for those who are pregnant. The country's system takes special care of expecting mothers, allocating money, time, and effort into keeping them safe and comfortable. Gynecologists and obstetricians work hand-in-hand with GPs in the country to ensure that every pregnant woman is well-taken-care-of. In fact, the specific communities within Belgium have set up their own agencies so they can better help the expecting mothers of their community. The Flemish-speaking community has Kind en Gezin while the French have the Office de la Naissance de l’Enfance. They provide both support and advice for pregnant women in the country.
Consequently, once these mothers have given birth, their children will also be given access to Belgium's healthcare system. They're pretty lucky that many of the country's finest hospitals have effective pediatric wards. Getting coverage through either public or private insurance allows one to avail many services for their little ones. They include regular medical check-ups, monitoring of weight and height development (especially during the early years), hearing and eye tests, and free vaccinations. For the latter, Belgian children can get vaccinated for, diphtheria. measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), tetanus, polio, and whooping cough. Your insurance will help you get all of these without breaking the bank!
While in other countries, dental insurance is a relatively separate coverage from that of your general healthcare insurance, here in Belgium, they're one and the same. Dental care is part of the state-run public healthcare system, as well as in many insurance packages run by private companies. People who are covered can request reimbursements for checkups and basic treatments. The include bonding treatments, installing braces, tooth extractions, crownings, and the like. Conversely, however, it's better to get private insurance coverage because most dentists work under private institutions. Doing so will save you a ton of money!
A type of healthcare that's, unfortunately, often forgotten is mental healthcare. In many countries, such isn't even covered by their public healthcare system. And even if you can find private insurance to help cover the costs for mental healthcare, the coverage would oftentimes be broad and limited. Here in Belgium, however, mental health services are provided even in the public level of insurance coverage. This includes counseling and psychiatrist sessions, access to psychiatric wards in various institutions, and even support from communal entities. It also helps that there's less stigma surrounding mental health in Belgium as compared to other countries.
As mentioned time and time again, private insurance is an option that can better give you coverage for various health problems in Belgium. This isn't to say that the country's public system is limited. But rather, getting complimentary private insurance will be better for your finances in the long run. And if you're not a resident of Belgium, only private and travel insurance can allow you to get coverage within the country's system. Companies that you could go for private insurance here are those you might also find in other countries: Allianz Care, Cigna Global, Globality Health, and Paterna.
Belgium's healthcare system is a lot more complex and detailed than you might think. If you're moving to the country, you have to be familiar with the law at hand, how to gain access to it, and how you can benefit whether you're a citizen or not!
As fine as the country's healthcare system is, Belgium's luxury apartments are equally commendable as accommodations. Choose one for yourself when you're staying here, preferably one that's close to a hospital or clinic!