Health insurance & Medical care
In Belgium, employees and self-employed must take out health insurance; it is part of the compulsory liability for social security. In the case of employees, social security contributions are deducted from their salary by the employer on behalf of the employee. PhD candidates who receive a scholarship from a Belgian institution and postdocs who receive a fellowship from a Belgian institution are assimilated to employees in this respect. People who are self-employed must make voluntary contributions to a dedicated social security fund.
If you are a citizen of the European Union, your European Health Insurance Card (which replaces the E128 and E111 forms) will prove that you have insurance coverage in your home country and can benefit from insurance in your host country. The Card will guarantee access to health care during your stay in Belgium (provided this does not exceed 3 months): it facilitates (partial) reimbursement of medical costs and allows you to obtain prescription medecines more cheaply. If your stay in Belgium exceeds 3 months, you will need to register with a Belgian mutuality. Your Euraxess Service Centre will be able to provide you with further information.
If you do not have a European Health Insurance Card, you will have to contact a mutuality (“ziekenfonds / mutuelle”) on arrival in Belgium to obtain insurance coverage. Your Euraxess Service Centre will be able to give you information about the different mutualities.
The mutuality will reimburse (in part or in full) medical care and certain medicines. You are free to decide which mutuality you join. There are mutualities of various different persuasions: socialist, Christian, liberal and neutral.
Joining a mutuality means you will enable you to be reimbursed for part of your medical and dental fees, hospital fees, surgery, giving birth, etc. according to the very strict tariff set for the various types of care provided. The mutuality will reimburse part of the cost of medical and dental treatment upon presentation of a document attesting to the treatment provided. If you are prescribed medicines whose cost is partly covered by the mutuality, you will only need to pay the part not covered by the mutuality when you purchase them. It is also possible to take out additional (non compulsory) health insurance, which covers all or part of the costs that are not reimbursed by the mutuality.