When booking a hospital stay, your doctor or specialist will usually recommend which hospital you should go to and will book the hospital room for you in advance. All you need to do is to arrive either in advance or at an arranged time (your doctor will advise you as to the specifics of your particular situation) and present the following;
- Identity card
- SIS-card or proof of other insurance
- Deposit to cover initial costs of treatment
- X-rays and medical records (if your GP will not be working with you)
It is advisable to call in advance to find out exactly what other documents you may need or to find out exactly how much you have to pay as a deposit, and also what they recommend you bring to the hospital to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Nearly all hospitals accept emergencies and treatment is usually given first and then payment and insurance details dealt with later. Again, carrying an identity card and a SIS-card on you at all times will simplify your life immensely in the event of an emergency. In emergencies you do not need a doctor’s referral to go a hospital, and in the event of ambulance transfer, you’ll usually be taken to the closest emergency care centre and admitted with or without identification and proof of insurance. Payment is usually required on the hospital visit, especially small amounts for visits requiring minor procedures, and you can almost always pay cash, debit or credit card.
In Belgium, expats generally need not worry too much about the language barrier as at most hospitals, particularly in Brussels and the surrounding areas, staff will almost certainly be fluent in at least French, Dutch and English.