Living in Antwerp?
Healthcare and Emergencies in Antwerp
Choosing Healthcare: Private Isn’t Always Better
The city readily provides comprehensive healthcare to all of its residents. Given that Belgium is often seen as having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, this should not come as a surprise. Healthcare is predominantly a state system which is complemented with private alternatives.
You need to pay fees for both healthcare systems. It is worth noting, though, that using private healthcare does not necessarily give you an advantage. This is because the state healthcare funds (mutualiteit) allow you to choose any doctor, clinic, or hospital suited to your needs, just as is the case if you opt for private care.
The ABCs of Health Insurance
If you are working for a Belgian company, your health insurance contributions will be automatically deducted from your salary due to integration with the Belgian social security system. Your employer will also contribute to these payments, from whom you need to obtain a written certification of employment, which you use to sign up with a health insurance fund.
Your fund will only reimburse 50% to 75% of your bill, which is why many people also sign up for additional private insurance. When your doctor prescribes medication, make sure that the medication is on the list approved by the government and, therefore, refundable.
General practitioners require you to pay for their services yourself, after which you can obtain a refund from your health insurance. For this purpose, you receive a set of stickers from your insurance fund: in order to be reimbursed for a GP visit, you must attach a sticker from your healthcare fund to the doctor’s bill and submit it. Your Social Security Identity card, which you will receive from your health insurance fund, should be taken along on every visit to the doctor, a pharmacy, or a hospital. For visits to pharmacies and hospitals, the reimbursement rate is applied directly, so you don’t have to pay the full amount.
What to Do in Case of Emergency in Antwerp
If you need to contact an on-call doctor in Antwerp, call: +32 (0) 900 10 512. If you can wait until business hours, you can visit a GP. This list from the American Embassy provides the details of English-speaking doctors in Antwerp.
If it is an emergency, you might need one of the following numbers: for any emergency, the European number is 112; for an ambulance or the fire brigade, call 100. For police, use 101.
You should also be aware of the different hospital groups that exist in Antwerp. The biggest is the Antwerp Hospital Network (Dutch), though there are others:
- University Hospital Antwerp (English)
- GasthuisZusters Antwerp (Dutch)
- AZ Monica (Dutch)
- Klina (Dutch)
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