Belgium: Effect of EC gratuity on use
April 2023. In Belgium a new reimbursement scheme was put in place in April 2020, that made EC pills available free of charge to women of any age. Before that, EC pills were reimbursed when sold with a prescription to patients under 21. See Belgium for more details.
Three years into the implementation of this scheme, aimed to improve access to contraception, data from the Institut national d’assurance maladie-invalidité (INAMI) shows a big increase in access to EC through the public health system, not only among youth, but among women of all ages. According to this data, about around 900 units of EC pills were dispensed annually under the INAMI reimbursement scheme from 2017 to 2019. This went up to almost 26.949 in 2020, and to 100.513 in 2021.
This data was presented by the Federal Ministry of Public Health and Social Affairs, in response to a parliamentary question regarding the impact and cost of this measure in October 2022. According to the Ministry, the data does not necessarily reflect the total increase in EC use, since it does not include EC units sold to individuals not covered by INAMI’s insurance, or provided (also free of cost) by the family planning clinics.