New in Belgium on 1 August: cheap renovation loan and car inspections without appointment

At the beginning of the month, new rules often apply in Belgium. August is no different. From now on, it is no longer necessary to make an appointment for the car inspection. Brussels homeowners and tenants can apply for a new cheap loan for home renovations and telephone doctor consultations are no longer free.

From now on, anyone who wants to have their car inspected can do so without an appointment at one of the inspection centres. At least one day a week, the gates are open to everyone.

Since the corona pandemic, it was compulsory in many inspection centres to make an appointment. Sector organisation GOCA Flanders and its members have agreed to switch back to a mixed system from August, with at least one day a week without an appointment.

Low-cost loan

From this month, homeowners and tenants in the Brussels-Capital Region will be able to benefit from a new low-cost loan for home renovation. The loan, called 'Ecoreno', covers the financing of a variety of works, from traditional renovation over security to building insulation and the improvement of energy performance.

Depending on their income, the interest rate for owner-occupiers and tenants will be 0 to 1%, while from January, owner-occupiers can also apply to the Housing Fund. They will pay an interest rate of 1 to 2 percent.

The loan will be granted on the condition that the household does not exceed a maximum income. For a single person or a single-parent family, this ceiling will be from 61,049 euro to 81,049 euro, depending on the number of dependents (0 to 4). For other households, the ceiling will be between 77,699 euro and 97,699 euro, again depending on the size of the household.

Reimbursement remote medical consultations

In connection with Covid-19, two systems put in place as a result of the pandemic and other remote measures following the crisis will be adjusted. First, a new framework will be established for fees and reimbursement for remote medical consultations. At the height of the pandemic, the first tele-consultation codes were introduced to assist vulnerable patients and protect doctors when treating Covid-19 patients.

Now, these codes will disappear and be replaced by other codes for telephone and video consultations, which will see the patient having to contribute to the costs of the consultation. This will amount to 4 euro for a video consultation and 2 euro for a telephone consultation (in both cases, a patient who receives more reimbursement will pay 1 euro).

However, the cost of these consultations will only be reimbursed under the following conditions: the consultation must be with a doctor that the patient was already consulting, with a specialist to whom another doctor has referred him or her, or with a GP on call; the patient must request the consultation and the doctor must agree to it; the platform used for a video interview must be secure and comply with good practice in this area.

Speech therapy

Finally, speech therapists who have not participated in the latest speech therapy agreement, R/22, which sets the official fees for their services, can now charge their patients. In mid-July, almost 60 percent of speech therapists opted out of the agreement, which was approved with indexed tariffs at the end of May. Previously set at 28.33 euro per session of at least 30 minutes, the rates have been increased to 29.28 euro, based on indexation only under the new agreement, with patients covering 5.50 euro of the cost.

However, the speech therapists' associations demanded an increase in the sector to 33.40 euro per basic consultation and refused to sign the agreement, meaning speech therapists who are not covered by the agreement are free to set their own rates and can charge a supplement to the patient, expected to be another 4 euro to be covered by the patient.



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