Detailed guide: Healthcare for UK nationals living in Belgium

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You must have health insurance cover to live in Belgium. You get health insurance by joining a health insurance fund called a mutuelle or ziekenfonds.

You may still have to pay for the medical care or health services that you use, but your health insurance fund will pay you back for some of your healthcare costs.

UK nationals usually access the Belgian healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • joining a health insurance fund and also paying social insurance contributions
  • using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for temporary stays
  • registering a UK-issued S1 form with one of the health insurance funds

Healthcare if you live and work in Belgium

You must register as a resident if youre planning to live in Belgium for more than 3 months.

To access the state healthcare system you must also:

  • get health insurance by joining a health insurance fund (called a mutuelle or ziekenfonds)
  • pay social insurance contributions

Your dependants will be covered by your health insurance.

You can also take out supplementary insurance from your health insurance fund. This is optional. You can pay a higher annual insurance fee so that you do not have to pay for hospital stays or dental care, for example.

You may be entitled to a Belgian EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK.

You may also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension.

How to register

Once youve registered as a resident, youll be given a national residency card.

You then need to sign up to make social insurance contributions.

If youre employed by a Belgian employer, theyll usually do this for you.

If youre self-employed, register yourself with the social institution for self-employed workers.

If youre not working, you can pay personal contributions directly to an insurance fund.

Some people do not need to pay social insurance contributions. For example, if youre unemployed or disabled.

You also need to join a health insurance fund. To do this, book an appointment at the local office of your chosen fund.

Once youve registered with a health insurance fund, your national residency card will be updated to show your membership. Show this when you visit a doctor.

You can book an appointment with any GP. You do not need to register with them first.

How much youll pay

Joining a health insurance fund normally costs 120 to 150 euros per year on top of your social insurance contributions.

You need to pay for most medical treatment but you can apply to your insurance fund to be reimbursed up to 80% of the cost. You do not need to pay for surgery.

Some hospitals, pharmacies and ambulances are able to bill your health insurance fund directly.

Example costs include:

  • GP appointments: 27 euros
  • hospital stays: 137 euros per day
  • dental appointments: 22 euros

The cost of medicine varies depending on the medicine.

If your UK employer has sent you to Belgium temporarily (posted workers)

A posted worker, also known as a detached worker, is someone employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to a European Economic Area (EEA) country.

UK posted workers can access healthcare in Belgium using an EHIC, GHIC or S1 form.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

UK-funded healthcare: using an S1 form in Belgium

Theres different guidance if you have an S1 as a posted worker.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if youre a Belgian resident and receive a UK State Pension.

You may also be entitled to an S1 form if youre a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if youre eligible.

If you started living in Belgium before 1 January 2021, you may also be entitled to an S1 if you receive some other exportable benefits.

Once you have an S1 form, you must register it on the Belgian system.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Belgium on the same basis as a Belgian citizen.

Youll also get:

Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Belgium than the UK.

Check with the local authorities when you register your S1 form.

How to get an S1 form

If you have a UK State Pension, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm

How to use an S1 form in Belgium

You must register your S1 form with your health insurance fund.

Once registered, your residency card will be updated. This will show youre entitled to healthcare on the same basis as a Belgian citizen.

Studying in Belgium

You can use an EHIC or GHIC to get medically necessary healthcare until the end of your study period.

Getting treatment in the UK

Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes UK nationals who started living in the EU before 1 January 2021.

Read more about healthcare when you no longer live in the UK.

If you return to live in the UK youll be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident.

Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.

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