The copayment for a series of medicines will be lowered and contraception for women under 25 will be free of charge as part of the 2020 health budget that the federal government approved on Friday.
Minister for Public Health, Maggie De Block, will lower the copayment for a series of about 600 medicines against diseases such as osteoporosis, asthma, high blood pressure, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, depression and certain cancers. In total, patients will have to pay €58 million less out of their own pocket, reports VRT NWS.
Additionally, €6.9 million will be cleared to entirely reimburse contraception for women under 25, and make the morning-after pill free of charge for all women.
Both measures are part of the 2020 health budget that the federal government approved.
"That is to increase financial accessibility," said De Block, reports De Morgen. "The financial threshold to buying contraception still appears to exist. The copayment is too much, especially for young women," she added. Up until now, contraception has been fully reimbursed up to the age of 21.
"Counting everything, the patient will see €65 million euros of their expenses disappearing," said De Block. "There is money for it. We have a balanced budget," she added.
To keep that budget balanced, De Block has developed several savings measures for the pharmaceutical sector, amounting to a saving of about €161 million annually. The measures mainly impact medicines that have been on the market for a long time, and biological medicines, reports De Tijd.
Several weeks ago, De Block rejected a budget proposal from doctors, health insurance funds and care institutions as they did not offer enough to the patients, according to her. However, in the budget De Block herself proposed, several initiatives for patients will no longer be funded.
On Thursday, it was revealed that De Block will extend the transitional measure for the maximum invoice by one year, preventing the costs for around 80,000 chronically ill people from rising.
The Brussels Times