Healthcare in Belgium

The health system in Belgium is of a very high standard and is the equal of the best healthcare systems in the rest of Europe. As with other countries, the healthcare system is divided between private and state care, though fares are needed in both. Because of this it is a good idea to get suitable insurance cover, either state insurance or private insurance. The state system allows patients to choose any doctor, hospital or clinic you like, in any location and without referral, according to your needs in much the same way as you can with private insurance.


Health insurance is mandatory in Belgium with contributions being paid by both employers and employees. Foreigners coming to live in Belgium without working (e.g. retirees and the ‘idle’ rich) must generally produce proof of health insurance in order to obtain a residence permit. All employees and self-employed people in Belgium must contribute to a health insurance fund ( mutualité/ziekenfonds) as part of the normal social security enrolment process.


You must pay the bill for most medical services and then submit the receipt for reimbursement. Reimbursements are usually less than the charges incurred, and most Belgians take out supplementary health insurance to cover the unreimbursed portion or to upgrade their cover from the statutory level. If you’re hospitalised, you must usually pay a fixed daily accommodation fee, either in advance or when you’re discharged, but the hospital normally sends all other bills directly to your health insurance fund.

Emergency Treatment

In the event of an emergency you need to call 100 or 112 and an ambulance will arrive quickly and take you to the nearest emergency centre. When you call they will need to know the type of emergency, address (municipality, street, house number, locality etc.) and the number of people in danger. Sometimes, a decision may be made to admit you to the best centre suited for your needs e.g. a specialist burns unit.