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How do you deal with being hospitalised in Belgium?

20:17 20/12/2018

Being hospitalised is daunting wherever you are, home or abroad. In Belgium each hospital treatment has a corresponding code that reflects the amount that will be reimbursed by the national health system. Usually, reimbursement is around 90% of the cost of treatment, but the shortfall passed onto patients can be quite considerable depending on what sort of hospital services you sign for on admission and whether they are covered by your mutuality health insurance policy.

Basic policies do not cover private rooms, and what’s worrying is that if you choose a private room it also means your doctor can charge private fees. According to an expat advisor at Partena, “This is something expats don’t realise. If you want to pay the extra for a private room, doctors can also charge up to 300% more for your treatment, than if you were in a public room.”

It’s absolutely paramount to check which sort of hospital room is covered by your provider before signing for anything when you are admitted. Sadly this isn’t always possible if you are caught up in an emergency situation, but should you need advice, someone else can check on your behalf with Partena’s special expat division helpline in English. It also runs a Defence of Members service which can assist in verifying your hospital bill and intervene on your behalf if necessary – also on issues of medical damage. A quick call could save you a fortune.

If you already know you’ll want to go private, Partena offers distinct hospitalisation policies to cover private hospital rooms, the associated treatment fees and meals. 

The most important thing to remember is to let your mutuality know that you’re in hospital. If you have an employer, telling them within 48 hours will ensure that you don’t lose out on the amount of reimbursement you receive. If you’re an independent or not working, notify your mutuality as soon as possible. Medical certificates or Incapacity to Work certificates have to be handed in or sent off to the mutuality before or during your hospital visit, and not more than two days after you’ve been discharged. The penalties for not doing so could see you losing around 10% of the reimbursement that you are entitled to, for each day the paperwork is delayed.

After hospital

Once you get home, if you need special care to recuperate, equipment to get around, or a stay in a care centre, Partena can take care of it. Partena’s Solutions and Assistance team of occupational therapists, physical therapists and social workers are on hand to consult on your specific needs and tailor solutions in complete confidentiality. The service is open to everyone, and is especially attuned to safeguarding those more vulnerable who have lost their autonomy or who are unable to work, as well as their caregivers. The team can advise on adapting your home, arrange renting or purchasing medical equipment, arrange respite for both you and your caregivers, transportation to medical appointments and can hook you up to a televigilance service that can respond with immediate help should you have a fall or injure yourself at home.

Written by The Bulletin with Partena