THE FRENCH HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

ARE YOU SETTLING IN FRANCE ? 

You must be wondering how you will access health care and how your health costs will be paid. Understanding the French health system can be tricky. Let’s start with the basics. 

1.

ACCESSING THE FRENCH SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM: 

YOUR RIGHTS AND REGISTRATION PROCESS

Depending on your situation there are different ways to apply:

Employees & business owners in France
You can apply via the Social Security local office called CPAM (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie). You might have to pay a contribution to the Urssaf *.
Retirees
You can apply via the S1 form (based on European legislation). Remember to request the form before leaving the UK. You do not pay contribution.
You can apply on the basis of the PUMa (a French legislation). You might have to pay a contribution to the Urssaf *.
OTHER
You can apply on the basis of the PUMa (viathe Social Security local office called CPAM. You might have to paya contribution to the Urssaf *.
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* Urssaf is an institution that collects the contributions.

For more informations :

PUMa (the abbreviation stands for “Protection Universelle Maladie”) provides a cover to all persons residing in France on a stable and regular basis (regardless of employment).

On one condition! You must prove that you have been resident in French territory on an uninterrupted basis for at least 3 months, and that you reside there for at least 6 months per year. In some specific situations, you might not need to meet this condition ; for example, if you move to France to join family members.

2.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Once your rights have been opened, which might take up to a couple of months, you can apply for a Carte Vitale (France’s health insurance card – for over 16s only). This green card with a chip allows automatic transfer of your repayment forms to France’s Social Security, for example following a doctor’s consultation. You will be able to access your personal account via Ameli.fr website (available only in French) and download your Attestation de Droits (rights certificate), the certificate that attests you are entitled to benefit from French Social Security. It is a useful document while waiting for your Carte Vitale.

3.

YOUR REIMBURSEMENTS

It’s important to know that standard state French health insurance only covers part of your costs.

How much you’ll be reimbursed depends on:

  • the cost of your consultation, procedure, treatment or service which is determined by France’s Social Security system (SocialSecurity reimbursement rate or SSRR). These are the standard fees charged.
  • the repayment rate (« taux de remboursement »). This rate is also determined by Social Security, and varies according to the type of care. For example, you’ll be reimbursed 70% of the flat fee for a consultation, 65% for medicines for significant medical services, etc.

We strongly recommend that you contact the French health insurance advice line with English-speaking advisors.

for more information on your situation, contact us at