How to get into the French healthcare system

How to get into the French healthcare system?

If you are living in France or you are considering moving to the country and have made no financial arrangements for your healthcare, then this concerns you.

In 2016 France introduced a new universal healthcare system called PUMA with the intention of simplifying access. 
The cost of French healthcare is met by a mix of public and private provision and it is a legal requirement in France to have health insurance cover once becoming permanently resident.
This makes it crucial that every person has healthcare insurance (called the “mutuelle” or top-up) in place in the event of requiring medical treatment. The cost of, for example, a stay in hospital or long-term treatment could be quite significant, potentially leaving you with expensive bills to pay.

Who is entitled to benefit from French healthcare?
There is a legal right to healthcare for residents in France but an important principle is that a person is able to contribute to the system (called “cotisations sociale”) to receive any financial benefit.

There are three main ways in which you will be able to access healthcare: as a self-employed person, a salaried employee or a retiree.

You may have set-up a SARL type limited company or be trading as a micro-entrepreneur. To access the health system you need to register with RSI and/or URSSAF. For those working in the agricultural sector you should contact MSA.

Salaried Employee
Your employer should make arrangements for you to join via CPAM but this is not a legal requirement. So check and make sure that the paperwork is completed.

For those in receipt of a state pension or with long-term health incapacity you are entitled to French healthcare by applying for a S1 certificate from the UK and presenting this to CPAM.
Since 2014 the UK Government stopped issuing S1 certificates to early retirees. Therefore you will need to either take out private healthcare insurance or become employed or self-employed.

Once you are in the system, you can apply for a Carte Vitale which will reimburse you for healthcare costs – but not all. That’s why top-up health insurance is so important, both financially and for your well-being; and we can help you find the best policy for you and your budget. So don’t get caught out with expensive medical bills and contact us today so we can find the best solution for you.

AXA Marthon is the authorised AXA representative for the Marthon area in the Poitou-Charentes, providing a professional service to 1,500 English speaking clients in the Charente and Dordogne. We have access to the best insurance and financial services deals in France with bi-lingual, English speaking friendly staff.

Phone us on +33 (0)5 45 70 43 76 or visit our website