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Updated 3 weeks ago

Health care is a priority, especially when we expatriate to a foreign country. Here is how to take care of your health in Belgium.

Health insurance in Belgium

Health insurance is mandatory in Belgium. The affiliation to any health insurance is automatically linked to social security.

As for social contributions, employees and employers each pay a part. The first ones via salary contributions and the second one via employer contributions.

Two specific cases exist for expats:

Unemployed expats: they need to be affiliated to a health insurance in their country of origin. The certificate allows you to get a residence permit. Social security in Belgium doesn't cover foreigners living in Belgium without a job.

Employed expats: those not eligible to the non-resident tax can avoid contributing to the Belgian social security. If it's the case, the employer's health insurance usually covers any medical treatment.

Register to social security

Any expat working in Belgium needs to register at the Belgian social security. Here are the documents they need:

  • Copy of ID paper
  • Copy of a work contract, delivered by a Belgian employer (in the case of different work contracts, the oldest one is needed.)
  • Form H012 (or E104.) You can find it at your healthcare insurance office.
  • Your bank account number

Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. Depending on your country of origin, you might need more documents.

Supplemental health insurance: mandatory for expats in Belgium

Every employee or independent worker in Belgium has to be affiliated with local social security and subscribe to a supplemental health insurance (or Zeikefonds in Dutch.) Many supplemental health insurances are available, and your employer can help you choose. In Belgium, some supplemental insurances are dedicated to specific populations (religious, political, or corporatists.)

Supplemental health insurances in Belgium apply similar preferential rates and refund medical treatments at similar rates too. However, the delay to be reimbursed can differ. Contribution to a supplemental health insurance is directly taken out of the monthly salary.

Each employee contributes to the National Office for Social Security. Employees give 13.7% of their gross salary to it and employers from 22.65 to 26.61%. Independent workers give from 14.16 to 21.5% of their yearly income. In Belgium, any family member (spouse, children under 18) are automatically covered by this supplemental health insurance.

To ask for an allowance from your supplemental health insurance, you have to get a 6 month period of deficiency first. This condition doesn't apply to employees previously covered by the insurance of a family member or covered by the social security of another EU state, less than six months before coming to Belgium.

Alternatively, there are many insurance companies to choose from, according to your needs and budget. Some of the leading health insurance providers are:

Consider having a look at their offers according to your needs and get a free quote on Expat.com's Health Insurance for expatriates in Belgium page.

Medical treatments in Belgium

Clinics and hospitals offer all types of medical treatments in Belgium. The health care system is pretty good and well developed. Both types of medical establishments are open 24/7. Your GP can take care of you in a clinic (most GPs are affiliated with one or two clinics in their area.)

To access medical treatment, either in private or public institutions, don't forget to take an ID document with you and the social security card you've received. If you are covered by a private insurance, don't forget the card or any document that proves your subscription to it.

GP and special consultations

Having a GP is not mandatory in Belgium. However, in the case of medical analysis, results will automatically be sent to your GP. Medical treatments for specialised consultations are covered only with a prescription from a GP. Therefore, it's recommended to have one.

Medication in Belgium

Sales of medicines and pharmaceutical products is highly regulated in Belgium. Medicines can only be found in pharmacy and auto-medication is highly discouraged.

Usually, each town has a pharmacy on duty. Other pharmacies clearly state the address of that one.

Medical treatment payments

In Belgium, individuals pay the consultation first then send the treatment form to get a refund. It is recommended to have a second supplemental health insurance to get higher refunds.

If you wish to subscribe to a second supplemental health insurance, here are the two options:

  • Companies offer one to employees.
  • Independent workers ask professional associations or private insurance to get one

Refunds

Each time you pay for medical treatment, you send a treatment form or an invoice. The delay to send these forms to your supplemental health insurance is 3 to 6 months. The form is automatically transmitted from the health mutual to the supplemental insurance. This way you don't have to make any copy of prescriptions, treatment forms, or any invoices.

Useful links:

National Health and Disability Insurance Institute (NIHDI)
Belgian social security ' NIHDI
Belgium Official Portal - Health Department
Federal Public Service ' Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Fund of the Health and Disability Insurance (CAAMI)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.