For the first time in Belgium, sessions with a sex therapist will be partially reimbursed by some insurance companies from 1 January.
The Neutral Health Insurance Fund Flanders (Neutraal Ziekenfonds Vlaanderen) and the Flemish & Neutral Health Insurance Fund (Vlaams & Neutraal Ziekenfonds) will reimburse €10 for the first ten sessions, according to De Standaard.
Sessions generally cost between €50 and €70, meaning the full cost won’t be covered, “but we hope that the threshold for going to a sexologist will be lower,” said clinical sexologist and spokesperson for the Flemish Association for Sexology (VVS) Chloé De Bie, adding that this would hopefully remove the taboo that surrounds some sex-related issues.
“It takes an average of seven years before people take the step to get help with these kinds of problems, and 85% of people don’t. They often don’t even know who to turn to.”
The health insurance companies will only pay for visits to clinical sex therapists recognised by the VVS, which the organisation hopes will safeguard quality standards since it isn’t yet recognised as a professional category – something the Netherlands has already done and the Belgian sector has been wanting to change for a long time.
“In Belgium, anyone can hang a ‘sexologist’ sign on their door, so to speak,” De Bie said. “We advocate recognition, as the Dutch Health Council has already advised.”
Not all health insurance companies have offered to provide reimbursements.