Doctors and hospitals in Belgium are generally very good. You have a choice of using private or national health service doctors and hospitals, all of which are subsidized by the state. Doctors can be recommended by friends, neighbors, colleagues and other expats, and some embassies have recommendations as well. Generally, because of the high standard and the fact that most doctors do speak English, it may be wise to go with a doctor that is conveniently located to you. Some doctors conduct appointments at hospitals while others meet in houses in their neighborhoods, making them very accessible, and some do both. In some cases doctors will make house visits though these may cost more.
Walk-in visits generally cost around 20€, of which around 5€ is reimbursed, and making an appointment may cost a little more. Reimbursements may be more if you register on the global medical file that allows the doctor to keep your full medical history in one file. After hours and on weekends it is also possible to access a doctor (wachtdienst), the “guard duty”, who you can call on (0900) 10 500 for 0,45€/minute. There is also a “guard duty” at hospitals so you can also go straight to a hospital and see the doctor on duty, though after hours you may also have to pay more. Specialists are also available and reimbursed the same as doctors, though in some cases it may be necessary to be referred by a doctor so you are reimbursed for the costs.
The majority of hospitals in Belgium are privately owned, though they are also subsidized by the government. Hospitals are generally of a high standard, though they provide the basics associated with actual health-care, and often you may have to take your own personal effects such as soap and toothpaste. If admitted to a state hospital (ziekenhuis), you will be treated by their staff and may not see your own doctor, but if admitted to a private clinic, (kliniek), your general practitioner will most likely be in charge of you and the staff working around you. Usually a doctor will have affiliations with at least one hospital and will recommend you to a particular hospital or clinic in the event you need hospitalization.
Always ensure you carry an identity card or passport and the SIS-card if you are using the state social security system, or your proof of insurance if using another insurance. Keep in mind that not all hospitals may accept your private insurance, so be sure to check with them before you check in. Usually you will have to pay a deposit upfront and depending on your insurance, you may have to pay weekly during the hospitalization. With the social security card you may be reimbursed for most of it and you can also work out a plan that you do not have to pay upfront should it be expensive. In elective surgeries the chances are your insurance will not cover your hospital stay.
In some areas there are neighborhood health centres that if you register with them you do not have to pay for services, though if you go outside of them you will have to pay full price and not be reimbursed by the health service.
The national health service in Belgium also covers visits to alternative health practitioners such as acupuncturists, homeopaths, osteopaths and chiropractors, though they must be qualified and registered.