The National Association of Independent Health Insurance Funds has analysed reimbursements of medical care by the Independent Health Insurance Funds to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare and drug use of people with chronic conditions.
The analyses show that physical contact with general practice and specialty medicine was particularly hard hit by both waves of the pandemic, but that the first wave (notably the peak in April 2020) had a much greater impact than the second wave, which started in September 2020. The study also found that the 2020 pandemic had a significant impact on hospital admissions. As with physical consultations with a healthcare provider, both the number of hospitalizations with and without overnight stay decreased significantly during the first wave of the pandemic and to a lesser extent during the second wave. Worryingly, emergency care admissions (stroke, cardiac arrhythmia treatment and prostatectomy) were also affected by the pandemic.
Contrary to the population's perception, the reimbursement data do not seem to indicate a worsening of mental health problems during the health crisis. Another important and unusual finding in Belgium, probably related to the measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, is the collapse of the use of antibiotic therapy and anti-inflammatories without steroids.
The full report is available:
- in Dutch: https://www.mloz.be/nl/uitstel-verzorging-covid-19
- in French: https://www.mloz.be/fr/report-soins-covid-19