On average, Belgians spend €1,100 per year per household on their unreimbursed health costs, €500 more than the European average of €600.
Belgium ranks top of the podium in Europe in terms of patient spending on health, Médecins du Monde and Netwerk tegen Armoede (the Flemish anti-poverty network) warned on Tuesday, Bx1 reports.
The two associations were speaking during the launch of their new campaign, which focuses on social inequalities in access to health care.
Both noted that in Belgium there is a life expectancy gap of about 14 years between two otherwise healthy women, due to one being more privileged than the other.
In Belgium, more and more citizens are forced to postpone healthcare due to financial reasons, in stark contrast with a developing European trend towards seeking help, said the associations.
Furthermore, and estimated 600,000 the number of Belgians currently living in poverty, the groups warned, with children in vulnerable families the most affected by the difficulties.
The price of medicines also presents a challenge for the population, with 79% of vulnerable households perceiving it as a burden, the associations added.
These financial burdens are the reason that Médecins du Monde and Netwerk tegen Armoede have issued a number of recommendations to the next federal government, including a suggested reduction in personal payment at the dentist, limiting the rates of specialists, or further invest in medical centres.
The Brussels Times