Getting to grips with the French healthcare system

Getting to grips with the French healthcare system

Getting to grips with the French healthcare system

If you’ve decided to give France a chance post-Brexit, you’ll need to get to grips with its healthcare rules.

Once you’ve actually arrived in your chosen destination, how you access the French healthcare system depends on your category as a new expat on the block. If you’re an employee, a legal resident in France, a business owner or a retiree or inactive person, you’re allowed to access French healthcare via payments to social service contributions, known as ‘cotisations sociales’. These give you access to the French system, although you may be asked for proof of payment.

As an employee in France with a contract of employment, you’ll be relieved to hear it’s your employer who must sort out your social service protection. It’s possible to use your home country health insurance whilst you're working abroad, although this is dependent on the terms of your insurance. If you arrive from a non-European Union country, your healthcare coverage will be via Assurance Maladie. Neither process is set up as a matter of course, with checking with your employer the best way forward.

Expat entrepreneurs and business owners need to complete the process via either the RSA or URSSAF, with a letter from either the proof of your affiliation. Proving your status and completing the application is made by providing the required documentation and, until your verification comes through, you’ll be covered by a temporary social security number. If you’ve lived in France for longer than three months, you’ll be allowed access to public healthcare, with your application via PUMA needing documentation including proof of residence, your passport, birth certificate with legal translation, bank details, CERFA form and your ‘medecin traitant’ declaration.

If you’re inactive or have retired to France, you’ll need the S1 from your country of origin and a completed Cerfa 60-3406 declaration. Other documents required include proof of a pension, your birth certificate and passport, and the entire process should take around two months to complete. Expat students are required to register on France’s dedicated ‘healthcare for students’ website and should be done before you arrive as you’ll need to provide a long list of relevant documentation. After approval, you’ll receive a social security number and must create your ‘amile’ online account through which you’ll apply for your carte vitale.

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