Health insurance in English for expats in France

Health insurance in France

Health insurance

French residents who are not exempted from contributing to their own health insurance (e.g. the retired, those with a serious or long term illness and the disabled), need to contribute to France’s state health insurance to benefit from it.

However, the amount of health cover to which residents are entitled will not cover 100% of the actual cost. The state will pay for perhaps 70 - 80% of this cost – and residents have to pay the rest.

For example, a stay in a major university hospital in France - even without surgical intervention - can cost in the region of 800 euros a day. In this example, a patient with no more than the basic state health cover would have to pay perhaps 240 - 160 euros a day.

A good health system is expensive

France’s health system is a world-beater. In June 2000, the World Health Organization reported on the state of the health systems of 191 countries. The UK came 18th, the USA came 37th and France came 1st. The cost of achieving that ranking and of maintaining it is expensive. It is possible only because France’s citizens contribute to it out of their own pockets.

‘Top-up’ health insurance cover in France

Health insurance

To bridge the gap between what one is entitled to and the actual costs, France has adopted a system of ‘top-up’ health insurance. These policies are also known as mutuelles or complémentaires. These insurance policies can provide you with comprehensive health insurance and peace of mind, but they can be complicated to understand, not just because they come in a bewildering array . . . which is where we at our Eauze office come in because we can explain the differences between our Generali policies and help you choose a policy that is appropriate to your needs.

It helps to know in advance that these ‘top-up’ policies come with some clear ‘rules’:

  • In France, there is no ‘excess’ where you pay more the more you claim.
  • You cannot be refused ‘top-up’ insurance because you have an existing condition or even if you are disabled.
  • You will be covered up to the limit of the policy without additional questions being asked.
  • If a ‘top-up’ policy (once taken out) is not cancelled in the first two years, the insurance company cannot cancel it themselves. They also cannot dramatically increase your premiums. At Generali, we guarantee you this from the moment you sign up.

What health cover am I already entitled to here in France?

If you have just started your residency in France and are uncertain what you entitlements are, feel free to contact us. We’ll be able to advise you on your options.

If you are self-employed here in France, the situation is a little more complicated. Ask our advice!

Getting into the French social security system

To begin with you will need your S1 and S2 forms (replacements for 'E' forms E111, E104, E106, E109, E112, E121). Beyond this, please feel free to contact us and ask our advice.

Send us an email through our contact form.

Telephone us directly on: +33 (05 62 03 70 00).