Hospitals in Belgium: what to expect?


Ending up in a hospital bed while you are abroad can be quite upsetting. It’s better to know in advance where you can go to find the right help, what it will cost you, and what else you can expect. Whether you need standard medical treatment or emergency assistance, this information could be lifesaving.

Choosing the right hospital

In Belgium, you can visit any specialist in a private, public or university hospital or polyclinic. Yet, not every insurance plan will cover this, so it’s better to check this beforehand with your health insurer. Are you looking for general or specialized care? You may want to ask your general practitioner (GP) for advice or a referral. Although a doctor’s referral is not always required, this could decrease the delays significantly.

The costs of a hospital stay

For in-patient-services, hospital fees vary according to your economic and domestic status, whether you choose a shared or single room and the length of your stay. Your insurer may only cover the costs of the medical treatment and not the hospital fee for daily care. So, make sure you know what you’re in for.

For outpatient care, you can rely on emergency services for immediate treatment. However, you should not use these on a regular basis or as an alternative for medical appointments with your GP. If you use emergency services without a referral, the costs may be higher and partly nonrefundable. So, only use those for urgent matters. Most medical practices have a doctor on call for emergencies.

Life-threatening emergencies: call 112

In case of a medical emergency, call 112 for an ambulance. The emergency vehicle will take the patient to the nearest hospital with an emergency department. Be aware that public insurance does not cover the €60 cost of emergency transport, while private health insurance does.

Upon arrival, you’ll be asked to identify yourself via your eID so the hospital staff can check whether you are insured. If you have private insurance, make sure you bring the necessary documents. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be asked to pay a deposit and the outstanding amount when you leave the hospital. You will be – completely or partially – reimbursed by your health insurer afterwards, depending on the extent of your policy.

Looking for a hospital?

For a hospital near you, review a list of Belgium’s main hospitals.

In case of an emergency, getting the right medical care can be lifesaving. So is being well-informed! Here at Link2Europe, we are happy to help you. Get in touch!