American living in Gent, Belgium who gets to travel the world for work. Food lover, daily adventurer, complete wanderluster.

Tackling Foreign Health Care

Tackling Foreign Health Care

I'm spoiled with the Belgian healthcare system. As an American who still keeps insurance in the States, I'm paying and using both. When I signed up for Belgian insurance years ago, they gave me a sheet outlining the plans and their month costs. The Royals Royce of plans cost me €27.93 a month. That's right, basically $30 a month gets me amazing healthcare. I carry a Gold plan through Obamacare for more than $400 a month (just in case I get really sick or hurt and also one of my Crohn's drugs isn't approved in Europe, so I still go to my slew of US doctors annually.) and that basically gives me nothing.

AZ Sint-lucas, hospital, Belgium, Gent, health care, health insurance, foreign, health care Belgium, expat insurance, expat Belgium, expat hospital Belgium, surgery, foot surgery, hallus rigidis, arthritis feet, big toe surgery, hallus vargus

It took me a few years of living here to feel comfortable with tackling the healthcare system. Before this year, I'd only gone to a general practice doctor when I was sick and a dentist when I cracked a tooth. But after a very expensive 2015 year in the US when it came to insurance and medical cost, I decided I had to figure out the Belgium system. Add in all my new health issues, and it simply made sense. I dipped my toe in by going to the dentist for a check up. I'm not a fan of the dentist but this experience went smoothly and my out-of-pocket costs (with x-rays) were around $10. I was sold. 

Regardless of the country, doctor's waiting rooms all look the same.

Regardless of the country, doctor's waiting rooms all look the same.

This January, my feet had deteriorated to the point that I knew I needed an expert. I found a foot orthopedic surgeon and my journey into the Belgian healthcare system began. I've now had x-rays, minor surgery and seen rheumatologists, a gastroenterologist and an acupuncturist. The wait for an appointment can be long, but I've learned that if you need to get in, they get you in.  There are times that I think they are a little more conservative in their approach than I would like and there is a sense of passing the buck around, but all in all, I'd say it's a good system.

Who would have thought my feet would lead to so much agony?! 

Who would have thought my feet would lead to so much agony?! 

After my first trip to the hospital, I dreaded getting the mail and finding the bills. In America, I would be racking up thousands. My first bill for the x-rays came and I cringed while I opened the letter. The bill, obviously all written in Dutch, showed I owed €1.56 out of pocket per x-ray, so around $2 and that included getting them taken and getting them read. I was shocked.

Order for surgery. 

Order for surgery. 

I'm about to dive into the Belgian health care system a little deeper. My foot issues have gotten worse and worse and after delaying nine months, my doctor decided I finally needed surgery. We scheduled it for this upcoming Monday. It is the best time of year to make this happen because I have a few weeks of no travel, so I'll spend that on the couch recovering. The Roommate will be home, so I'll have a nursemaid. I'm not looking forward to the surgery at all, (I'm actually quite terrified) but I am looking forward to walking pain free. He said that'll come about six months post-op. So here we go on another expat adventure.....

Six Months Gluten, Dairy, Peanut and Banana Free.

Six Months Gluten, Dairy, Peanut and Banana Free.

Quick Jaunt to Munich and Oktoberfest

Quick Jaunt to Munich and Oktoberfest