When you go to live and work abroad, it is better to have good health insurance to meet any expenses in this area. But be careful: insurance systems may differ from one country to another. French nationals who move to Belgium and who must take out health insurance there must therefore take into account the particularities of the local health insurance system. Here’s what you need to know about it.
Belgian insurance for French expatriates, how does the system work?
In France, the health system is managed by the Assurance Maladie, a component of Social Security. It guarantees beneficiaries the coverage of their health expenses as well as access to care. In order to benefit from more comprehensive coverage, beneficiaries can also take out contracts with private insurers or mutual insurance companies.
In Belgium, the system is a bit different. Health insurance benefits are directly managed by private companies regulated by law. Those are the mutualities. In the event of an accident or hospitalization, members of one of these health insurance funds can benefit from partial reimbursement of their costs. But it is up to him to advance the costs and the coverage is only partial.
On average, 35% of the costs remain the responsibility of the insured for interventions relating to general medicine. For interventions relating to specialized medicine, the remaining charge increases to 40%. Which can sometimes cost very high.
Hospitalization insurance, health insurance for French expats in Belgium
In order to effectively cover your health costs as a French expatriate in Belgium, the ideal is to take out hospitalization insurance. In this field, it is DKV, the Belgian market leader, which offers the most interesting solutions.
Full reimbursement of your expenses
With hospitalization insurance, you will no longer have to worry about the amount of the hospital bill before you leave. Your hospitalization costs are 100% covered, regardless of the duration of your treatment. Supplements related to a single room or a double room, examinations or even excess fees are also covered by the insurer.
In addition, you benefit from the rreimbursement, 12 months out of 12, of costs for around 30 serious illnesseseven without hospitalization.
Depending on the formula chosen, hospitalization insurance can also cover:
- Ambulatory care;
- Blood tests;
- home care;
- The purchase of medical equipment necessary for recovery;
- Post-operative checks;
- Aesthetic products related to care: a scarf, a turban, or even a moisturizer.
How to choose your hospitalization insurance plan for expatriates?
Three main criteria should be taken into account when choosing your health insurance for French expatriates:
- Guarantees included: the reimbursement formula, the extent of the guarantee during and after hospitalization, the payment of outpatient care or post-operative care;
- Exclusions. For example, illnesses existing before the subscription to the insurance contract may not be covered;
- The amount of the deductible and the ceilings.
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Other health insurance solutions for French expatriates in Belgium
French expatriates living in Belgium can also subscribe to one of the following services to cover their health costs:
The Fund for French Nationals Abroad (CFE)
The Caisse des Français de l’Étranger is in a way the extension of health insurance abroad. It provides French expatriates with the coverage of their health expenses in the countries, European or not, until their return to France.
This subscription entitles you to the reimbursement of your hospitalization costs, consultations, medicines, analyzes and many others.
But beware, the CFE follows the French standards. Consequently, the coverage offered is most often unsatisfactory, as health costs in Belgium are higher than in France.
International health insurance
French expatriates can also subscribe an international health insurance to benefit from the coverage of their health costs. Generally, this service covers:
- Visits to general practitioners;
- The purchase of drugs;
- Health checks;
- physio sessions;
- Treatments for serious illnesses such as cancer;
- Emergency situations.
As an option, the international health insurance can also integrate the reimbursement of dental care, glasses and maternity expenses.
Please note, however, that this formula is aimed more particularly at people who make regular round trips between France and Belgium.
Also note that the premium to be paid for international health insurance is also relatively high. It can reach up to three times the rate of a local insurer. In addition, contracts generally exclude people aged 65, 70 or older due to the high amount of their medical expenses.
Taking out local hospitalization insurance such as DKV therefore remains the best option for benefiting from suitable coverage.
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