Belgium, a tiny country in western Europe, is a popular destination for expatriate workers. Though flanked by France and Germany, the two European heavyweights, the nation manages to hold on to its unique identity.
French is the most commonly spoken language, followed by Flemish and German. The most well-known export of Belgium is beer. A quite large proportion of the population of Brussels are expatriates, given that the city contains the headquarters of the EU. The standard of living is quite high, and nearly all of western Europe is just an hour's drive away.
If you are moving to Belgium, you should, of course, buy an expat medical insurance plan to mitigate any health crisis. Let us take a look at the healthcare system in Belgium and what it has to offer to new residents.
Belgian Public Healthcare System – Efficient and Dependable
Without a doubt, the Belgian healthcare system is one of the finest in Europe. It is available through both the public and private sectors. Public healthcare is funded by the government and funded out of the national budget.
The nation spends 10% of its annual budget on healthcare. The amount is disbursed through what is known as mutuelle, or the public health insurance fund.
Belgium's public healthcare system is, however, not free, but based on co-payment. The government subsidizes the cost of hospitalization by about 70%. Medication is available at reasonable rates but purchased from private pharmacies. Primary dental care is also provided at reasonable charges. Nothing is entirely free, unlike healthcare in most EU nations.
A citizen or longtime resident has to contribute 7.5% of his or her income to the mutuelle fund. It must be noted that during the first six months of stay, you would not be able to access subsidized care.
With the help of your passport, work visa, and proof of address, you will have access to mutuelle membership after the initial period of stay.
Belgian Healthcare System – Too Complex to Navigate
Unlike other nations, Belgium does not suffer from an acute shortage of healthcare workers and beds. The fact that it is partly subsidized is an effective deterrent against patients seeking care for minor maladies.
But the drawback is that the subsidy system is too complicated for its own good. There has been no significant change in the way the system is administered since 1980, and it has become outdated.
It is efficient, but that is because people do not seek healthcare unless they need it acutely. While this makes sure that the metrics are nice and tidy, it fails to address the underlying problem of patients not seeking help until it is too late.
Belgium's Private Healthcare System – Dependable But Expensive
Among EU nations, Belgium has the highest number of subscribers to private health insurance. Since public healthcare is not free, many Belgians choose to take out private medical insurance to protect themselves from financial disaster.
There are several private hospitals in Brussels and Antwerp that offer excellent care. They are, however, not cheap. Unless you are covered by private medical insurance in Belgium, it would be challenging to pay out of pocket at these facilities.
The usual system is to pay the healthcare provider upfront and get reimbursed later by the insurer. Most of the well-known insurance firms offer health insurance policies in Belgium for students and long-term residents.
Belgian Expat Health Insurance - An Unfailing Ally of Expats
Should you choose to move to Belgium, you would need private medical insurance. It is easier said than done. This is because you need to be certain that your expatriate medical insurance offers you enough coverage to be comprehensive.
We have put together a list of the points you must be aware of.
- Estimate Your Coverage – Do not buy the most expensive. Of course, if you can do that, it's best. Otherwise, do not include maladies that you are not likely to suffer from. If you are young and in shape, you probably can do away with riders that include coverage for critical conditions such as a stroke or a heart attack. This will reduce your insurance burden.
- Portability – This is all-important. Belgium is a rather small nation; you would likely be spending your vacations away from there. Would you rather buy new travel insurance every time, or stay insured with a policy that operates across the entire EU and UK? It would be best for your policy to be accessible in several nations worldwide. This reduces stress and allows you to enjoy your holidays at no extra cost.
- High Sub-limits – The full extent of insurance coverage is not always available for your use as you wish. It may be broken into bed charges, medication, doctor's fees, and a specific amount allowable under each. These are known as sub-limits. A higher sub-limit allows you to get admitted to better hospitals and take advantage of the most modern treatment.
- Translation – You most probably would not understand an X-ray report in Flemish. What do you do if you have broken your ankle? How do you know the severity of the injury? That is why an expat insurance policy must cover the costs of translation services. It might seem something exotic, but we assure you it is not. Nothing is worse than being ill in a foreign country and not being able to understand your doctor’s diagnosis and advice for treatment.
Stay Secure with Expat Medical Insurance
Buying the choicest expatriate health insurance plan is not at all problematic. This website lets you compare plans and identify the most affordable quotes in a few seconds.
Compare expat insurance policies, and select the one that suits you best. You have the option of adding on as many or as few riders as you want. Your decision to buy expat insurance is your decision to stay secure no matter where you are in the world.