Flemish Care Insurance is discriminatory

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European citizens who live in Wallonia are excluded from the mandatory insurance that Flemish adults contribute annually.

1 April 2008

BELGIUM - At the request of the Belgian Constitutional Court, the European Court of Justice has advised on the Flemish Care Insurance and decided it is discriminatory towards French speakers in Belgium. The Flemish care insurance partly reimburses non-medical costs of patients that heavily rely on care.

Each year, Flemish adults living in Flanders have to contribute EUR 25 to the Flemish Care Insurance. The fee is obligatory and comes on top of the normal health insurance.

The idea behind it is that sooner or later every individual may need extra care following an accident or a long-term illness, at which point the extra benefits may come in handy.

The care insurance also applies to Europeans that live and work in Flanders. Employees living in Brussels can join in on a voluntary basis.

European citizens that live in Wallonia, however, are excluded from the insurance and that is a thorn in the side of some Walloon politicians. In their opinion, the insurance is discriminatory and violates the individual right to freedom of movement.

The politicians filed a complaint with Belgium's Constitutional Court which then turned to Europe for counsel. And Europe has now put them in the right.

According to the European advice, European foreigners that work in Flanders but live in Wallonia should be entitled to join the Care Insurance too. The court did refrain from pronouncing an advice on people that live and work in Wallonia.

The European advice now comes back to the Constitutional Court that needs to make a final ruling on the matter. If the ruling turns out to be negative, the Flemish Government will have to adjust the Care Insurance.

[Copyright flandersenews.be 2008]

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