The public healthcare system in France is one of the best in the world. However, under certain circumstances, having private health insurance in this country is still necessary. That is because public healthcare only covers a portion of medical expenses, and the excess might still feel expensive.
On average, the cost of private health insurance in France per person is €40 ($45). Also, prices depend on the policy: the better the coverage, the more it will cost. Insurance plans come in many forms. Certain courses cater to specific occupations, while others are specifically for expats or English speakers.
If you plan on moving to France, reading below will help you learn about private health insurance in the country. Comparing quotes online, asking for recommendations, and finding a policy that best fits your needs are the best ways to shop around.
Also read: How much does dental care cost in France.
Average cost of health insurance in France
French residents are all entitled to public healthcare. The law determines the cost of public healthcare based on a person’s income. Accordingly, you will pay a certain percentage of your earnings to the “sécurité sociale.”
Furthermore, as an employee, you have access to company-sponsored benefits. That means your employer contributes another portion to your social security.
PWC estimates that the employer’s share of contributions represents an average of 45% of the gross salary. On the other hand, the employee’s share of French social contributions is approximately 20% to 23% of their remuneration.
Nevertheless, since the government assesses contributions using different ceilings, the average rate will decrease as the gross salary increases.
The French social security system will cover 70% of the expenses if you need medical treatment. In the case of long-term medical problems, the state can cover up to 100% of the cost. However, what happens to the remaining 30%? In that case, you’ll have to pay for them unless you subscribe to a private health plan.
Private health system in France
When you are a resident of France and subscribe to public health insurance, you can also sign up for what’s called a “mutuelle.” This complimentary health insurance can cover 30% of your treatment costs that your government insurance doesn’t cover.
Not all medical insurance plans cover every treatment. Thus, you must plan and choose your “mutuelle” based on future needs. If you work for a company, they will cover half the cost of your mutuelle.
Private insurance, or “top-up insurance,” is often needed to cover the remaining amount beyond the government’s reimbursement of 70% (80% for hospital stays). Several options are available, with monthly rates ranging from $36 to $72.
In addition to the extra coverage, private insurance helps make up the difference for more invasive dental procedures. The state-mandated fixed-rate covers simple dentist visits, exams, fillings, and cleanings.
However, procedures like root canals and crowns exceed the fixed rate. Dental visits range from €30 to €54 ($36 to $65). The maximum cost of a ceramic crown is €440 ($528), of which French healthcare will reimburse €120 ($144). You must pay for the rest out of pocket or through top-up insurance.
Read how much does dental care cost in France.
Cheapest health insurance in France
Cigna is among the global brands known for high-quality health insurance products. Having its roots in the US, Cigna has expanded to serve more than 150 million customers globally. Now, it has its own subsidiary company, Cigna Europe, which has most of its insurance clients from France.
Due to Cigna’s prominence as a global organization, the company has access to healthcare providers in 192 countries, as well as global teams that operate around the clock. For as low as €72, you could avail of an annual healthcare benefit limit of up to €500,000.
Your healthcare plan would be inclusive of inpatient care, hospitalization cover, full cancer treatment, pregnancy cover for females, and dental care.
IMG is an international travel health insurance company for individuals, families, and businesses. Global Medical Insurance, Global Mission Medical Insurance, and Global Crew Medical Insurance are three of their most popular plans. They offer private health insurance for a healthy adult for less than €94.67 a month.
One of the affordable yet high-quality health insurance companies in France is AXA. They offer multi-level medical cover available for both foreigners planning to move to France or residents who are looking for good local health insurance.
Top-quality hospitals have partnered with AXA; through their insurance, you could pay your treatment costs directly with these hospitals. For as low as €98 per month, you could avail a holistic AXA health insurance plan.
Here are some of the benefits of an AXA health insurance plan: cover for hospital charges and surgery, payment for virtual medical consultations, emergency protection, medical evacuation or repatriation, and cancer medication.
Who can get public health insurance in France?
- Residents: Anyone residing in France for three consecutive months a year can register for health insurance. You must have a family or primary residence in France and intend to live there at least six months a year.
- Employees: France offers health insurance to employees through their social security contributions (cotisations sociales).
- Self-employed freelancers and business owners: Independent contractors (micro-entrepreneurs) and limited liability company business owners (Société à Responsabilité Limitée) can obtain medical insurance in France through the Régime social des indépendants (RSI).
- Children: France automatically covers children regardless of their nationality.
- Students: The country doesn’t recognize students from abroad as residents, so they must register for Students’ Social Security (Sécurité Sociale Etudiante), which covers their health expenses while in France. Citizens of the EU/EEA with EHIC cards, scholarship recipients, unemployed citizens of non-EEA countries older than 28, and students studying in France for less than three months may be exempt.
- EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens: If these citizens stay temporarily, they typically can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, health insurance is mandatory for legal residents.
- EEA and British retirees: Retirees who receive pensions from their home countries and reside in France can apply for French health insurance with their valid S1 forms.
- Unemployed people/workers with low incomes: Those who are unemployed or low-income legal residents may be eligible for French healthcare subsidies through CMU-C.
Health insurance for US citizens in France
In 2016, a major change in regulations brought welcome news to expats. Expats who have lived in France for at least three months in “a stable and regular manner” and plan to remain in the country permanently may apply for public health coverage.
As an expat, you’ll need extra documents. You need to be able to prove that you will live in France permanently and legally. It is essential to prove that you anticipate living in France for at least half the year (since anything less would result in inadmissibility).
Hold onto your receipts and applications while settling into a new life in France, taking classes, and registering for volunteer work. You will need them to support your claim. Just like with most government-based applications, you’ll need to show proof of your identity, address, and income.
Health insurance in France now goes by the name Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA), while the old system was Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU). PUMA is available only to expats who have been in the country for no more than five years, do not have paid employment, are under the age of 65, and do not receive a pension from an EU country.
Non-European students older than 28 years who receive no salary and British early retirees are also eligible.
Aside from public healthcare, US citizens who moved to France can also opt for private coverage. Private international health insurance offers some added advantages over local insurance plans.
The best part is that they are global, so]they will cover you anywhere in the world. Additionally, they can provide access to a broader range of French health facilities and doctors.
We recommend two options for expats moving to France. First is Cigna Global- it is one of the best global insurers. Cigna Global offers a modular plan design that lets you pick and choose different modules to fit your needs and budget.
The second recommended plan is GeoBlue Xplorer, which focuses on US citizens abroad. It offers similar benefits and services to Cigna. GeoBlue Xplorer is offered in conjunction with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of America.
It provides access to the excellent BCBS network of doctors and hospitals and high-quality healthcare providers worldwide.
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