How Do I Get into the French Healthcare System?

If you are living in France, have recently moved to France or are considering a move, knowing where to start to access French healthcare may feel daunting.

30 Sep 2020
Health Family

We understand this. Every week our friendly small team of bilingual insurance advisors talk with expats who are concerned about facing potentially costly medical bills and paying for treatment should they become ill.

First the good news… Everyone who either works or lives permanently in France (more than three months) has access to French healthcare and reimbursements under a system called Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA). 

However, to be eligible for cover under PUMA you need to be employed, self-employed or able to demonstrate to the authorities that you have a stable income.

Many expats who move to France register as a micro-entrepreneur and run businesses such as a chambre d’hôtes/B&B, operating a gite, garden/property maintenance etc. This is a relatively straightforward and affordable option which enables you to use the French healthcare system by paying social charges (cotisations). It is important to note however in France the state will cover only a proportion of the total cost – 70% – which is why buying top-health care insurance (referred to as the “mutuelle”) is extremely important.    

People who are retirees may be able to access French healthcare with a S1 card from their country of origin. Since 2014 though the system has become more complicated, requiring those who are not eligible for a S1 card to take out private medical insurance. This does not apply to those people of pensionable age who are able to claim free healthcare in France…. Do not forget though that everyone regardless of which system they are using will need to purchase top up health care insurance.

Want to discover more on how to get into the French healthcare system? Please get in touch with us by using any of the contact details below.

Insurance France is the trading name of AXA Marthon. We are a British-owned English and French speaking AXA agency which takes pride in getting to know you so as to understand your insurance needs. We are not a call centre as we provide all of our services including claims, in-house, providing a professional service to 1,500 English-speaking clients across France.

+33 5 45 70 43 76



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