Recognised refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection can get health insurance (assurance/verzekering) as soon as their status is confirmed by the CGRS. You need to show the electronic ID card or the Annex 15 with proof of recognition by the CGRS if the electronic card is not issued yet to the insurance company.
CPAS/OCMW will normally offer a list of some insurance companies, and you can choose the company and the branch based on the insurance facilities and the region you live. To choose the right medical insurance, you can get advised by the assistants at CPAS/OCMV or at the welcoming/integration centres.
After choosing the health insurance company, you should make an appointment and personally go to make a contract. After making the contract, you will receive the documents by post and should pay for the insurance fee.
Medical cart (Carte médicale/carte santé – gezondheidskaart) will be issued for recognised refugees/beneficiaries of subsidiary protection by CPAS/OCMW.
First, CPAS/OCMW will evaluate your file after you receive your health insurance and will make a decision. Before having the medical card, you need to introduce a pharmacy (usually near your residence) and a family doctor to your assistant at the CPAS/OCMW. The medical card is normally valid for one year and will be extendable if you still continue to get supported by CPAS/OCMW.
The medical card will cover visiting fees for your family doctor and specialists if the patient receives a letter named ‘réquisitoire/benodigdheden’ from the family doctor, also most of the medicines prescribed by the doctors. The pharmacist will inform you which medicine is needed to be paid.
You will be requested from CPAS/OCMW to choose your own general practitioner or family doctor (médecin/huisarts). You can find doctors by personal recommendation or through the Gold Pages (Pagesdor/Goudengids), available in French and Dutch. To find a family doctor who speaks your own mother language, one of the best ways is asking your network or finding it by advertising in Facebook groups of your origin country.
If you go to the hospital in the case of emergency, it will also be covered by your insurance. Only a small part of the whole expense should be paid by you later on after receiving the medical factor from the hospital.
Many general practitioners in Belgium work with appointment systems, though walk-in consultations (on a first-come-first-served basis) can also be available. Doctors in Belgium will make house calls if you are too sick to visit the clinic.
Your family doctor will be reachable by email or telephone or any other means she/he prefers. To make an appointment with a specialist, you should ask for your family doctor to write a letter and you can take it to the hospital to make an appointment in person or you may call.
Do not forget to ask your family doctor to issue a ’réquisitoire/benodigdheden’ before visiting a specialist. If not, you should pay for a part of the consultation.