The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu

Is it normal that as an expat I was given no information about Mutuelles until I asked more about them?

Question

As someone from the UK I was aware that in Belgium there exists something called Mutuelles and on searching and asking about them i was repeatedly told "they're basically private health care".

When i started my new job i was aware that I'd receive as a benefit Private Healthcare, which I assumed was this Mutuelle thing that everyone described as it fit the description.

I later found out that it's different and in addition to a Mutuelle and that during the months between when I'd first receive cover for this Private Healthcare that I'd also have a Mutuelle.

The strange part is that my Mutuelle when i set it up requested confirmation from my employer. Is this normal? Why do they need something from my employer? If it is normal, why did my employer not ask me for proof of a Mutuelle until i asked them explicitly? I had been there for 3 months, basically without cover.

In short, my understanding of Private Healthcare in the UK caused me to misunderstand how a Mutuelle works here (they're really not that much alike at all as someone would NEVER have two private healthcares as it'd be double the cost with no benefit) and meant i was without cover for 3 months.

shortof

Yes

Nov 29, 2019 01:10
Christs Chin

Hilarious response.

Nov 29, 2019 06:31
CM

No

Nov 29, 2019 07:41
kasseistamper

In very simple terms your mutuelle gives you the cover which you would get from the NHS in the UK. Paid for in both the UK and Belgium by a deduction from your salary.
Private Healthcare in Belgium covers what a mutuelle doesn't in the same way as, for example, BUPA does in UK.
If you go to hospital you get a bed in a ward. If you have Private Healthcare in Belgium or BUPA in UK you get a bed in a private ward.
They are not the same and you are not paying for the same thing twice.

Nov 29, 2019 08:43
anon

You're thinking about it wrong. the Mutuelle isn't "private health care" in the same way that you'd think about it in the U.K.

It is more similar to the basic coverage that you may get from the NHS, just different in that it is administered and managed by a variety of private and state owned companies. You have a choice as to which mutuelle you join, but the deductions from your salary (much like national insurance in the U.K.) are compulsory and determined by government.

As KASSEISTAMPER notes above, the additional "Private Healthcare" you have is basically a "top up" insurance which will pay for things over and above what the mutuelle pays for, in the same way that you can have BUPA coverage as well as being covered by the NHS.

Nov 29, 2019 09:44
ao

The social and health care contributions are directly deducted from your salary whether you have subscribed to mutuality or not, and your cover is valid as per your paid contributions, though to receive any reimbursements you do have to join a mutuelle. The choice of and subscription to mutuelle are individuals obligation, the employer is only responsible of ensuring the deductions from the salary are done correctly. When you join first time the insurance company has to verify your employment (= that you are correctly contributing to the system), and hence ask attestation of your employment.

Nov 29, 2019 16:41
wezembeekwanderer

I think you have most of the answers above. Basically, if you come to work for a Belgian company from abroad your HR department should have informed you about all the basic things like healthcare, registering at the commune, changing your driving licence, opening a bank account etc. That's why many of them will use relocation agents. Relocation companies will usually advise on all these matters, help find you a property and make sure that your rental lease is correctly done and deposit paid into a safe account. I hope that you have done all that correctly too and that when you moved in there was an inspection etc.

Nov 29, 2019 22:36
shortof

There is no obligation from your HR to tell you how a mutuelle works or how you register.

Dec 1, 2019 10:31
shortof

If you'd ended up requiring hospital intervention in the months you were without mutuelle membership, the hospital would have opted you into a mutuelle. If you'd ended up going to a GP, the GP would also have requested proof of mutuelle at payment, at which point, the GP would have explained you need to join a mutuelle.

Dec 1, 2019 10:51
CM

GPs do not require proof of membership of a mutuelle, they just take the fee. It's none of their business whether or not you can reclaim it afterwards. The same goes for hospitals, but you'd be crazy not to join a mutuelle or have private cover before going to one.

Any responsible company employing someone who isn't from Belgium will explain all about mutuelles to their new employee, and I'm astonished that the OP's employer didn't.

Dec 6, 2019 19:19

Pages