Health & Protection in France



Welcome to France! While the country has been making the headlines due to tragic events, it is good to remember that you are possibly more at risk in a foreign country speaking a foreign language. You therefore want to explore how to bring a protection package with insurance and emergency cover that will try and parallel what you would have back at home.

Protecting family and valuables while living in your new city is a priority for most expats, and in a place like France, you have several options to secure the most important things in your life a. Both the public and private insurance sector are efficient and world class. You have a selection of insurance products and services that can fit your lifestyle. Learn more about how to get insurance, how to take advantage of it, and how it can help you save money not just in emergencies, but also through specialised services.

"The French healthcare is very good but…be prepared to pay the doctor for an appointment (it will usually be reimbursed!). On the other hand, you will be nicely surprised as many medicines are being reimbursed. It is normal in France that on top of the national healthcare, everyone has a mutual."- Aga, Expat in Lyon, France

Getting Insurance

Insurance is not hard to come by when you live in France, in fact, the government requires quite a few mandatory insurance plans before you even enter the country. Travel and health insurance is a part of a tourist visa requirement, and all employers are obligated to register all foreign employees with the Union de Recouvrement pour la Sécurité Sociale et les Allocations Familiales (URSSAF). This is the government branch that handles all social security services and the country and makes sure that employees are covered for employment and health insurance.

"My experience of the health system has been most positive. I have used both a private hospital and the government hospital in our nearest big town and have been more than pleased with pretty well every aspect of it."- Keith Channing, Expat in France

As an expat, you will have to ask your HR department about what comes with your package. Take the time to discuss the benefits and understand well the cover that they offer you. Check for instance the geographical coverage and what is the level of cover (Dental, Optical etc. are often not included). Your can also ask your employer what they can do if you would like to seek some add-ons (called “mutuelles).

The payment for this mandatory insurance service is through a regular contribution from both the employer and employee via salary deductions.

"We are very pleased with the French healthcare system. Prices are affordable. Once you are in the system, paperwork is minimal."- Ira FARO, Expat in France

Aside from employment and tourism, France also obligates residents for car, student, home, and school insurance. For all of these mandatory insurance needs, you have several options of both local and international insurance companies. Most expats prefer to use international insurance companies, as the coverage is larger and they get more customised expat benefits and services. Some of the world’s biggest insurance companies that have offices and offer their services in France are Allianz, Generali, and Aviva.

Importance of Insurance

While emergency and medical services in France are very efficient and of good quality, they can be quite pricey for some specialist treatments, which is why insurance is necessary for so many things in the country. Protection is very important when you’re living abroad and with a proper insurance coverage, you can be rest assured that your savings and family finances won’t be harmed not just in cases of emergencies, but also for some of the most basic services you will need while living abroad.

"The healthcare is fantastic. If you don’t have a Carte Vitale (French healthcare card) it can be expensive, but once you’ve got that, prescriptions are free and plenty of the healthcare costs are reimbursed. Private healthcare is affordable and can be used to cover additional costs that the public system doesn’t cover."- Wendy Hollands, Expat in France

Even though the URSSAF’s services are free and easily accessible, their services and benefits are limited to just basic care. This is how you can take advantage of a proper international insurance policy that can assist you in several important expat needs such as repatriation services and medical evacuation.

Local Insurance in France

France’s local insurance industry is extensive. They have several local insurance company that can give you specific local coverage and would probably best for specific government required insurance policies. Some of the country’s most renowned international insurance providers are among other AXA Group, Hennerand April Group. However, as we mentioned earlier, international insurance companies has a prominent presence in the country, and is preferred by most local residents and expats alike for the extra benefits, international access, and company stability that you can only get with a global company.



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