New French universal heathcare system to benefit expats

Published:  14 Sep at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Earlier this year, the French government introduced a new universal system giving automatic and continuous healthcare rights to permanent legal residents.

The new Protection Universelle Maladie system is available to all permanent legal residents in France including expat retirees. To qualify, expats need to have been living in France for at least three months and spending at least 183 days per year within the country’s borders. Basically, the new rules shorten the length of time foreigners need to have been resident before being able to claim access to France’s excellent heathcare system.

Previously, a stay of between one year and five years was required, with expats from outside the EU having to pay for private health insurance, although UK expats were covered by a reciprocal agreement between the two countries. The French healthcare system is highly regarded and, as a result, is ranked at the top of the World Health Organisation’s tables of excellence, beating out 190 other states in the WHO’s year 2000 report.

Before the new system was introduced, expat retirees with access to public hospitals were forced to pay an annual visit to their closest healthcare offices, bringing with them a ream of documents satisfying the French love of paperwork and bureaucracy. Confirmation of income, residency status and more needed to be renewed every year in order to keep entitlement to coverage, but the new law now negates this massive administrative burden.

Applying to join the new system is relatively painless if somewhat time-consuming. Required documentation includes proof of legal residence in France and the intent to stay for a period of at least 183 days every year. Your passport, visa if required, birth certificate, proof of income and proof of address whether freehold or rented will all need to be shown, along with a French utility bill proving you actually live in the country and intend to continue to do so.

The application should be taken to your nearest Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM), after which French bureaucracy takes over and you’ll need to wait a while for conformation your application has been approved. If you’re unlucky enough to get sick in the meantime, US expats in particular will find French hospital charges refreshingly economical compared to those in the USA.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive