Every country has a different system when it comes to healthcare, but within the EU, as long as you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you are entitled to reciprocal healthcare. While this is reassuring for regular travellers, it must be reiterated that a reciprocal agreement does not necessarily mean that you will receive the same treatment as you would with the NHS in the UK. It pays to do your research before you travel and always have adequate single trip or annual travel insurance. |
Belgium is an EU country and a popular destination for weekend breaks. It is also somewhere that people often drive through on their way to other destinations. With a valid EHIC, healthcare can be accessed at a reduced rate or even for free depending on how urgent the treatment is. There are however, certain things you have to be aware of should you require healthcare in Belgium.
What Does the EHIC Cover?
The majority of healthcare professionals in Belgium work on both a private and public basis, so when you access treatment it is imperative that you make sure you are seen by a state funded public doctor. Only a single trip or annual travel insurance policy will cover private healthcare. It is especially important in the case that you ask your hotel or holiday representative to call a doctor for you that you ensure they call a public one. Costs incurred when using a private doctor cannot be reimbursed with an EHIC.
In the case that you require healthcare in Belgium, you may be asked to pay a fee directly to the doctor. You can then claim back 75% of the costs while you are still in Belgium. You will need receipts to claim money back as well as the official form, which can be obtained at the doctor or dentist that you see. Of course, if you have annual travel insurance or even a single trip policy, you should be able to claim back the whole cost.
What About Hospital treatment
Again, going to the hospital is not free in Belgium. There is a fixed daily fee of around fifteen euros with the cost of the medicines on top of that. If you show your EHIC when you are admitted you will only have to pay a patient contribution and avoid paying the refundable payment upfront.
Prescriptions have to be paid for when they are purchased at the pharmacy but with the EHIC, you can claim back 75% while you are still in Belgium. With a single trip or annual travel insurance policy however, you may be able to claim back the full cost. Calling 090010500 gets you to the 24-hour pharmacy information line, which tells you the location of the nearest open one.
While the EHIC is a useful piece of documentation, if you want real peace of mind with regards healthcare when you travel to Belgium, or indeed any other country, invest in insurance. Annual travel insurance is the best option if you plan to do more than one trip a year.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip and annual travel insurance policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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