Expat Guide to Healthcare in France for Retirees

Contributed by Expatriate Healthcare, 26 April, 2018

With 58% of expats in France being 55 or over, it is important that any foreign nationals in this age bracket understands the French healthcare system.

It is no surprise that retirees make up a vast proportion of France's expat population. Several regions popular with this age group include the Cotes d'Azur, Poitou-Charente, Brittany and Aquitaine. These areas present the best weather in France and untouched countryside.

For many expat retirees, children and grandchildren are often back in their country of origin. This means the extra help the older generation are used to from family isn't readily available. Therefore, it is best for expats in France to be aware of what French healthcare options are available.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Any EU resident heading to France is entitled to free healthcare for the first three months of their stay. For retirees who have a European Health Insurance Card this can provide cover for any emergency treatment needed whilst they secure access to the French healthcare system.

The card only covers you for emergency public healthcare in France, not private or ongoing medical treatment. Non-EU expats, or retirees seeking access to private cover should invest in international healthcare insurance.

Healthcare for British Retirees in France

British expats are entitled to the same healthcare as French nationals who pay their social security contributions. Any British retiree living in France who have paid their National Insurance contributions back at home and receive a UK state pension can receive the same level of care as a French citizen.

How Does the French Healthcare System Operate?

Unlike the NHS which is free to patients at the point of use, the French healthcare system operates on a reimbursement system. If you receive care, you will be expected to pay upfront for it. Then, usually after a week, you will be reimbursed around 70%. Those living with chronic or acute medical conditions such as cancer or multiple sclerosis are covered 100%.

Obtaining Reimbursement as a Retiree

Expats who receive a pension or incapacity benefit from their home country can receive reimbursement of medical fees. Submitting the documents listed below allow you to be affiliated with the French healthcare system.

Expats must provide the following:

Once processed, you will receive a Carte Vitale – the health insurance card of the national healthcare system in the country.

S1 Forms

Expat retirees wishing to register for access to the French healthcare system will need to obtain an S1 form from the international pensions division of the government of their home country. The completed S1 form, along with the documents detailed above, will need to be presented to your local Caisee Primarie d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM), the health authority.

Early Retirees

If you are not classed as a retiree in your country of origin and aren't receiving a state pension you can not fill out an S1 form. For example, if you are a British expat who is retired and aged 56 you will have to live in France for three months before you can apply for state healthcare cover.

Most expats take out a private health insurance to cover them during these initial three months and many extend this period to benefit from the comprehensive cover.

Tags: Healthcare | Europe | Retire | Expats | Health Insurance | Healthcare | Insurance | pensions | France | public health | insurance | fees | social security |



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