How does the health care system work in Belgium and where are the hospitals in Ghent?

Belgium has a very extensive social security system. Foreigners also are entitled to certain allowances and to social services. The Belgian social security system is based on the payment of social contributions on your income from work. These social contributions serve to finance the social security system. Each month the employer pays between 30 and 40% on top of your salary into the social security fund. The employee also pays a proportion of his gross salary in social security contributions. This fund is then used to pay allowances in the event of sickness (but also in other cases, e.g. unemployment benefits, in the event of accidents at work, pensions, ...)

In case of health care the costs will be both covered by the social security system but also by a health care insurance. If you're living in Belgium, you need to apply for such an insurance as it’s compulsory for all residents in our country. You therefore need to become a member of one the insurance organisations. With this compulsory insurance you get various allowances like refunds for certain types of medication or for consultations with various healthcare providers (doctors and dentists, etc.), fixed allowances for hospitalisation and an allowance if you are unable to work due to sickness, for pregnancy or maternity leave. On top of the compulsory insurance, you can also choose to get additional private insurance with various insurance companies to cover more expensive or delicate treatments.

The fees charged by doctors can vary. Factors that have an impact on the price are, among others, difference between a general practitioner and specialist, area of specialisation and the time and place of the consultation, for example. A general practitioner (huisarts) normally refers you to a specialist. Please also be aware that in Belgium, you pay for a doctor's visit up front and then request reimbursement from your health insurance.

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There are various hospitals in Ghent, all offering most treatments: