Life and health insurance in France

Life as an expat in France is multifaceted, interesting and offers many benefits. Have you already found housing? Have you collected all the necessary documents for renting a home? Now it’s worth getting acquainted with the huge number of advantages of the country’s healthcare system, which was rated as the best in the world according to the World Health Organization. The public healthcare system in France is now quite accessible not only for residents but also for expats, mainly because the rules in the French public health insurance system “Protection Universelle Maladie” (PUMA) were changed in 2016. The French public healthcare system allows for a certain level of insurance coverage for expats in France, however there is a need for additional insurance, called “mutuelle”. This “mutuelle” is usually provided by private health insurance companies that offer specific policies designed to meet the needs of a specific group of individuals and expats.

Public health insurance in France only covers about 70% of the medical expenses incurred by an expat in France, as well as specific basic medical needs. This leaves 30% in the hands of the expat for all other expenses and special needs and needs depending on the state of health from specialists such as physiotherapists or emergency medical services. Many private health insurance companies offer policies to pay this 30% of the cost of basic medical services, as well as a few highly specialized medical services. Due to the nature of health insurance, prices for such services vary depending on the insurance company and the contents of the health insurance policy. There are also some conditions to evaluate the services, such as the expat’s age and in specific cases, the expat’s health history in France, as some people may require customized insurance policies to suit their healthcare needs.

Typically, insurance policies cover hospital care as well as medications, and may sometimes include dental coverage. Expats who need qualified specialists in specialized medical fields such as psychology, osteopathy and chiropractic or expats with chronic diseases and congenital diseases will need to request such special services from private health insurance.

Private health insurance policies for expats in France are offered in two different types depending on the purpose:

Top-up insurance

This form of insurance occurs when an expat uses a private health insurance policy in addition to the government health insurance policy already provided. In this situation, a private health insurance policy serves as a “mutuelle” to ensure that the expat has full health care coverage.

As with many insurance policies, there are specific requirements and rules that must be followed by both insurance companies and health insurance policyholders. Some of these regulations include:

  • All French residents who are legally residing in France are entitled to such top-up, complementary health insurance policies and as such should not be denied, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.

  • To receive better or more specialized medical care, the insured must make a commensurate payment. Essentially, to get more out of your health insurance policy, you need to insure yourself for more.

  • The policy will be valid for the first two years, after which the health insurance policyholder can cancel the policy. An insurance provider cannot cancel a policy without the consent of the policyholder.

  • In addition, the insurance provider is not expected to make any significant or unusual increases in health insurance premiums.

Comprehensive insurance

There are also comprehensive comprehensive private health insurance policies available for expats who do not have access to any coverage from the public health insurance system in France. Such a policy may be more convenient for expats, since with all their requirements they may not qualify for full coverage from the French public health insurance system (PUMA).

Private insurance companies offer several health insurance policies specifically designed for foreigners who intend to live in France for an extended period of time, typically more than 12 months. A number of expats use these policies, especially when they are unable to obtain health insurance from their home country. The level of insurance coverage depends on the insurance companies and the needs of the expat. Some health insurance companies may offer up to four types of policies, such as emergency cover for certain unforeseen circumstances, a comprehensive package to ensure basic medical needs are met, a regular package that is suitable for general medical expenses, and a premium cover that is usually comprehensive and comprehensive. coverage for unlimited medical needs.

Just as there are different packages and coverage amounts, policy prices also vary. Likewise, each insurance provider may focus on specific areas to increase customer loyalty, and the degree of responsiveness, especially in an emergency, will also vary between each health insurance company. Expats in France will need to identify the private insurance provider that is most suitable in all respects specifically for them.

To summarize, it is important to know that there are also short-term insurance policy options offered by private insurance companies for expats who do not intend to stay for a long period in France or for those who have not yet obtained a French government insurance policy. With all these private insurance company options available and the details of the policy costs, limits and services provided under each policy, it can be overwhelming among all the major options. Therefore, it takes a lot of time to understand which option makes the most sense in your particular case. There is a huge amount of information on this subject and it will be easier to find what you need now that you know how this insurance system works in France.

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