Healthcare Update

France has one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

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France has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Everyone living and working in France must register with one of the state health insurance companies (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie – CPAM) and every working person pays into it through what are called “cotisations” directly from their salary.
 
For us Brits, though, the system is not as easily accessible as it once was; this is because since July 2014, expats who have retired early are no longer able to apply for a form S1 (previously the E106) which provided temporary healthcare to early retirees moving to another EEA country. If you are moving to France permanently you will not be entitled to medical treatment in the UK under the NHS, as it is a residence based system. So if you come to live permanently in France, you are under retirement age and not working, you simply have to have private medical insurance.
 
The cost of a private doctor’s appointment is currently around €24, so not terribly expensive. Neither are prescriptions from the chemist - although obviously to be on the safe side, you should have medical insurance in case of anything more serious occurring.
 
If you are a UK state pensioner then this will not affect you – you can still have a form S1 which will entitle you to obtain the Carte Vitale which every French person has, and which pays 70% of your medical expenses including prescriptions. So if you live in France and receive a UK State Pension then this can be paid to you when you move, and you may in this case be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK. The International Pension Centre is on 0191 218 7777. Once you have registered your S1 with CPAM (most towns have a CPAM office) you should be able to obtain your Carte Vitale. There is another useful number and advice line provided by l’Assurance Maladie in English which is 0 811 36 36 46 from France, and 00 33 811 36 36 46 from the UK. 
 
If you are working in France you will be able to obtain your Carte Vitale through your employer or ask at your local mairie if, for example, you plan to be self-employed through the auto entrepreneur system. Anyone working in France will be paying taxes, and is therefore entitled to receive their Carte Vitale, thus affiliating to the system. 
 
Most working people in France still take out what is called “top up insurance” to cover the extra 30% which is not covered by the Carte Vitale. The amount depends greatly on what cover you want: whether you include glasses and contact lenses prescriptions, dentistry, full hospital care with private room etc. You will find many insurance companies will be able to help with this. It is definitely worth getting a quote from a leading healthcare provider, to see how it stacks up. 

Further reading for Living In France

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Finding work in France

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in France.
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Education in France

Are you emigrating to France with school-age children?

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Social life in France

The best way to get settled in France is to find out as much as you can about your new community.
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Healthcare

The French healthcare system is one of the best in the world...

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