Anyone living and/or working in Belgium is required to sign up for health insurance. This is a legal requirement that also applies to students. Belgian students are usually insured as dependants (of their parents). International students are responsible for organising their own health insurance upon arrival in Belgium.
In the event that you travel from outside the EU, you also need to be covered by travel insurance for the first month of your stay here to bridge the period where you organise local insurance coverage.
You are free to choose your insurance institution. Their operation is similar. The contribution you pay may vary.
When applying for a student visa you may need to provide proof of health insurance coverage in Belgium for the duration of your studies.
How is your health insurance organised?
Are you a resident of an EEA country?
As a resident of an EEA country you will have to obtain a European Health Insurance Card from your health insurance provider in your home country before travelling to Belgium. If your health insurance provider in your home country cannot provide a European Health Insurance Card you need to register with a Belgian health insurance provider.
Are you a resident of a non-EEA country?
As a resident of a non-EEA country you need to be registered in the Belgian Registry of Foreign Nationals and Belgian health insurance is mandatory. You will also be required to pay a contribution.
Upon arrival, all non-EEA students should immediately register for local health insurance as a ‘student’. You will need a certificate from the university that states that you have enrolled in a programme . Once you receive your residence permit you need to email a copy of the permit to your health insurance provider, requesting to change your insurance status from 'student' to 'resident'.
Students registered as a 'resident' may be entitled to an increased reimbursement ("Verhoogde tegemoetkoming."). Be sure to check with your health insurance provider. With 'verhoogde tegemoetkoming' people pay less for their health care and they are entitled to supplemented refunds. Enhanced reimbursements is based on your income. A benefit included is that you are excluded from provincial taxes.
Are you a resident of the UK?
How to join a health insurance?
There are 2 types of insurance policies:
- Compulsory coverage: A standard health insurance policy insures you against the most common healthcare costs, like a visit to the general practitioner. The Belgian government decides what basic health insurance must cover and this is the same for each insurance company. The HZIV offers only the basic mandatory insurance and does not provide any additional insurance plans. Registration is free if your legal place of residence is Belgium and you have no official income. If you do have an income, then your contributions will be adjusted to your income. Specific conditions apply to students whose legal place of residence is in another country. If you are insured by HZIV then you cannot register with a health insurance provider. In that case, you will have to take out health care insurance with the Vlaamse Zorgkas.
- Voluntary additional insurance: If you take out voluntary additional coverage, you will be insured against expenses that are not included in the basic health insurance package. You can take out additional coverage for things such as dental care, physiotherapy or alternative medicine. Insurance companies differ in what additional coverage they offer. If you want to insure yourself via a health insurance fund, then supplementary insurance to extend your basic health insurance is compulsory. For this supplementary insurance, you pay a contribution (= the health insurance contribution). The amount differs per health insurance fund. If you are registered as a student, you pay a fixed amount on top of your health insurance contribution (= EUR 74.99 per quarter in 2024). You can also be registered as a 'resident'. If you have no official income or an income below the subsistence minimum, you will then only pay the health insurance contribution. You can find an overview of all health insurance funds at the bottom of this page.
Additional hospitalisation insurance?
Many people take out additional hospitalisation insurance in order to limit the risk of expensive hospital bills. You can request such an insurance plan from your health insurer. Private insurers also offer additional hospitalisation insurance plans (such as Ethias)
Healthcare premium (‘zorgpremie’)
The Flemish social protection is a compulsory insurance for everyone living in Flanders, starting from the year you turn 26. Living in Flanders means either being registered in the population register (even with a reference address), or being registered in the foreigners' register.
If you are a foreign student (older than 25 years) registered in the foreigners' register, you will be asked to pay the healthcare premium (zorgpremie) for Flemish social protection. This is done by the healthcare fund of your Belgian health insurance fund, or by the Flemish Healthcare Fund.
Some foreign students will be exempt from paying this Flemish care insurance. Read more.
Tariffs ambulatory care
The health insurance funds made agreements with healthcare providers on tariffs. Healthcare providers choose whether to join this agreement.
- Conventional: applies the official rates
- Partly contracted: applies the official rates for part of the practice
- Non-conventioned: free to set fees