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Seeing a dentist, optician or physiotherapist in Belgium
The majority of dentists (dentiste/ tandarts) in Belgium are in private solo practices, although the number of group practices is rising. It is usual for dentists to provide dental hygiene services when carrying out a routine check-up. They have an agreed fee scale, which sets the level of reimbursement for patients for basic treatment.
You have to pay 15% more for technical care – like filling and removing a tooth – if you don’t visit the dentist at least once a year. Around half of dental care is no longer covered by health insurance, with crowns, bridges and implants paid for entirely by the patient.
An annual check-up is only reimbursed until the age of 67 and tooth extraction frequently only until 53. For all non-reimbursed treatment, dentists can charge what they like; more and more dentists are working outside the state system where they are free to set prices.
Check when making an appointment. While additional insurance exists for dental care, it rarely reimburses treatment completely and may set a limit for each type of treatment per year.
To find a Dutch-speaking dentist in Flanders and Brussels at weekends and during holidays, call 0903.399.69. For a French-speaking dentist in Brussels outside the working week, call 02.426.10.26.
Usually, opticians in Belgium work on the basis of a medical prescription, attributed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. You’re advised to undergo a test once a year. Some opticians can also evaluate your eyesight and determine the necessary adjustments to the power of your lenses. There are about 2,000 opticians companies in Belgium, including large chains, like Pearle. Most insurance funds partially reimburse the costs of optical care, and a list of accredited opticians and optometrists can be consulted at opticienoptometrist.be.
The use of physiotherapists following injury or hospitalisation is widespread in Belgium. Physiotherapy is prescribed by a doctor and reimbursed by health insurance funds. A normal pathology consists of 18 sessions withthree prescriptions for different pathologies allowed in one calendar year; up to 60 sessions can be prescribed post-operation or post-reanimation.
The amount a patient has to repay after insurance reimbursement is between €5 and €7. Physiotherapists play an important role during pregnancy, labour and post-natal recovery. You need a prescription from your GP to receive partial reimbursement. Sessions normally start at around the sixth month of pregnancy and you are entitled to nine sessions before the birth.