Healthcare System for Expats in France
France is a beautiful country to live in; however, enjoying your visit as an expat in this wonderful haven would mean that you can take good care of your health and have easy access to the country’s healthcare system. During your stay in France, you should be able to avail all the necessary medical facilities including hospitals, doctors, emergency services, etc. Note that health insurance is a must in France if you want to access the various healthcare facilities conveniently. It is also required for most expat visas in the country.
The French healthcare system is designed to offer healthcare facilities to everyone living in the country, including foreigners. The system covers the public as well as private hospitals, doctors, and various specialists offering top-class services to myriad patients. The health facilities and doctors in France are considered to be one of the best in the world.
Most of the medical expenses are covered by the State through a public healthcare insurance scheme. Registering with a French health insurance company and a doctor is mandatory for availing free healthcare services. For most treatments, you will have to go through this doctor if you want to be adequately reimbursed by the country’s healthcare system.
Overview of Healthcare in France
According to a survey, about 78% of expats are living a happy life in France and 40% of them have no intention of leaving the country. For those who wish to stay in France longer, understanding the health or medical care system as well as health insurance is vital. France boasts of an excellent universal healthcare system that is funded through taxation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), France ranks at the top in terms of healthcare efficiency.
However, as a resident of this beautiful country, you will have to pay for ‘mutuelle’, which is supplemental private insurance that covers additional medical care expenses. Additional expenses include 30% of the fees that have to be paid by the patient during doctor visits. The remaining 70% will be paid by the State. In the long run, this system can be a huge burden for large families, especially if they opt for major treatments and hospitalization. So, resorting to ‘mutuelle’ can be the best option to save some hard-earned money that you would have lost in the process.
How the French Healthcare System Works for Expats
Partially funded through compulsory social security contributions, the French healthcare system has gone through some changes. For expats, the government implemented a new healthcare system called Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA) in 2016. This has helped in making the French healthcare system simple and convenient with a reduction in paperwork. The reform also allows most people living permanently or longer than 3 months to avail various healthcare services and reimbursements. According to the new regulations implemented in 2016, an expat willing to live in France permanently after spending 3 months in a French destination can apply for public healthcare cover. To know about healthcare system in France check out our healthcare region page.
Necessary Insurance Paperwork for Expats
As an expat looking for public healthcare facilities, you will probably have to demonstrate that you want to stay in France legally and permanently. This means that you would require necessary paperwork that testifies that you would potentially live in the country for at least 6 months. Once you gradually start settling into the new French lifestyle, getting enrolled in language classes, participating in volunteer activities, etc., you must retain various receipts and application forms with you to support your claim of being a permanent resident.
Similar to government-based applications, your paperwork would include creating copies of proofs related to identification, address, and income. All expats must register with a physician dealing with primary care. You will have to provide the proof of this registration when you apply for public healthcare at the local CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie) office. If your application is approved, you will be able to apply for the national health insurance card, the carte vitale (green card). Using the green card would mean that you won’t have to pay upfront in cash when you visit a doctor for various services or treatments.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in France
Opting for private international health insurance would mean that you will be able to avail various benefits apart from the ones that are included in your local plans. They are global, which means that you would receive insurance coverage in any part of the globe. It would also help you to avail a wide range of healthcare services from medical specialists or doctors. As an expat in France, you can opt for the Cigna Global international health plan which is a reputed global insurer offering impeccable service and assistance. Another great option is the Allianz plan for European expats or the GeoBlue Xplorer is another plan which is ideal for US citizens living in a foreign land.