Pain-free guide to French healthcare
One of the biggest concerns of Brits relocating abroad is what the healthcare system is like in their new country and whether they’ll have to pay for treatment.
Article written by The Overseas Guides Company
Here Alexis Goldberg, Languedoc resident and writer of FranceBuyingGuide.com, outlines healthcare in France:
The French healthcare system is one of the best in the world and for many who have experienced both the UK and the French system, the difference between the two is marked. The medical care in France is first class, the hospitals are modern and benefit from the latest equipment, and technology and general practitioners are usually excellent diagnosticians. Appointments tend to be relatively easy to obtain with shorter waiting times. Many small villages have at least one resident GP.
The healthcare system in France is funded by the working population; each French employee pays about 20 per cent of their salary to the social security system and a large part of this goes towards public healthcare. As far as British expats go, before 23rd November 2007 they all were eligible to join the system.
With new rulings, however, things gets a little comlicated. Now, those who have not yet reached retirement age, ie are not entitled to an E121 form, are not now allowed to join the system until they have lived in France for five years. BUT, if you have fully paid up National Insurance contributions, which means you will hold an E106 form from the Department of Work and Pensions, the UK will fund your medical care in France for a period of up to two years. After two years, however, if still you have not reached retirement age, then private insurance will be needed.
Once you are entitled to French state healthcare you will be able to receive your “Carte Vitale”, which means 70 per cent of your medical costs are covered by the French government (as is the case for French nationals).
Costs of private insurance vary enormously but you can expect to pay on average around €2,000 (£1,610) per year. There are plenty of insurance companies, both French and international, who offer health insurance to expats in France and it is worth doing a price comparison exercise tailored to your individual needs.
Each town in France has a CPAM office (Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie), which is where your Carte Vitale will be issued once you furnish them with either the E121 or E106 form as well as proof of identity, domicile etc. Your Carte Vitale has a chip in it and means that although you pay initially for any treatment or prescriptions, you will be able to claim back about 70 per cent of this.
Most French people take out top up insurance called “mutuelle” to cover the balance of what is not covered by their Carte Vitale. Again, many insurance providers will offer competitive rates for a “mutuelle”. You are likely to find several insurance companies providing this health cover in most French towns as well as companies in England. Again, a price comparison exercise is well worth carrying out.
Even without any insurance at all, you can rest assured you will be well treated in France. A regular doctor’s appointment will set you back around €24 (£19) and prescription medicines tend to be cheaper than in the UK. The French tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to healthcare and as a result, you can rest assured you will be well treated with no stone left unturned when it comes to excellent diagnosis. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details of properties for sale in France visit the French listings on Rightmove Overseas. One way to save money when buying in France, or moving there, is to use a currency exchange specialist when transferring your pounds into euros. For more information on this, visit the Currency Zone or contact Smart Currency Exchange.
To understand the full step-by-step process to buying a property in France, collect The Overseas Guides Company’s ‘France Property Buying Guide’
The views and comments herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Rightmove Overseas, Rightmove Group Ltd or Rightmove Plc
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