Healthcare in Belgium
Healthcare in Belgium is sponsored by competing mutual health associations and provided by a mixture of public and non-profit hospitals. The government pays each mutual health association depending upon the number of registered members.1 Most of them are (historically) affiliated to a political institution, however there is no substantive difference between them as reimbursement rates are fixed by the Belgian government. Insurance funds do not cover 100 per cent of the patient's bills and typical reimbursement is between half to three-quarters of a typical doctor or specialist visit. Insured persons have a standardized credit card style SIS-cards which are needed in pharmacies and hospitals.
The first national law concerning the finance and provision of health care was enacted in 1894, with social insurance being introduced in 1945.2
Healthcare in the federal Belgium is mainly a responsibility for the federal state but some matters are a responsibility of the three communities (Flemish, French and German-speaking), such as preventive healthcare. Both the Belgian federal government as the regional governments have their ministers for public health.
Social security is given to people who need compensation for "social burdens" (disease, children, ...) or to people who do not have income at all, due to unemployment or as pensions. Pensions make up the largest portion of the National Institute for Disease and Invalidity Assurance (RIZIV/INAMI), which is the public institution which makes the financial reimbursements, and which is the core spending of the Belgian state. During the negotiations for the sixth state reform, it was agreed upon to transfer the responsibility for child benefits to the communities.
- List of hospitals in Belgium
- Public Centre for Social Welfare
- Flemish insurance for non-medical care
- Abel-Smith, Brian; Alan Maynard (1978). The organization, financing, and cost of health care in the European Community. Commission of the European Communities. p. 9. ISBN 978-92-825-0839-8.