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Healthcare in France

Healthcare in France

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This guide is available as a digital file and can be accessed and downloaded from the links provided after checkout and via email.

UPDATED 30 June 2023

- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed
- Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding
- Reader question and answer section

Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.

Healhcare guide cover

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More about this guide

We explain the rules of health cover which can be complex and which depend upon your personal circumstances; the guide helps you to understand the French healthcare system from your own perspective.

Any updates will be an addendum to your guide and an email will be sent alerting you to these. Please note that we are unable to update previous editions of a guide. Generally any updates made will be within a given calendar year, so any further updates to the current guide will be made during 2023 after which point we would expect to publish a new edition.

Contents include:

Overview, registering and finding a GP

  • Discover how the French healthcare system works
  • What medical services are available
  • How to find an English-speaking doctor
  • How and why you should get a carte Vitale
  • How to pay for medical treatment


  • How to shop for a mutuelle
  • What to do if you have a problem
  • How to switch companies
  • Getting a complémentaire santé solidaire (CSS) on a modest income

Moving over

  • What has Brexit changed
  • The healthcare rules for long-stay visas 
  • Cover for second-home owners
  • Health rights and the 90/180 rule for foreign visitors
  • European versus Global (UK) health insurance cards
  • Moving over as a British or EU state pensioner, the S1 system
  • Cover for self-employed workers


  • How you are reimbursed for your medicines 
  • Reciprocal rules on prescriptions within the EU
  • E-prescriptions: New trends in pharmacy services


  • Examples of tarifs de convention
  • What costs apply to hospital stays? 
  • Emergencies / Medical transport options / Medical supplies / blood test labs  
  • Nurses, speech therapists, psychologists, osteopaths, hypnosis and alternative medicines

New technologies

  • How téléassistance and ‘health cabins’ work
  • The digital carte Vitale and how soon you can get one
  • France’s new online digital health space

Ancillary services

  • Finding a doctor out-of-hours
  • Vaccinations
  • The 100% Santé reform for full reimbursement of dental, eye and hearing care
  • Costs of crowns, implants and dentures
  • Plastic surgery versus cosmetic surgery
  • The free two-hour health check open to all

Cancer and Alzheimer’s

  • Cancer overview in France
  • Details on different types of cancer
  • Help for Alzheimer’s sufferers

Healthcare abroad for French residents

  • Healthcare outside of France
  • Other treatments in the EU
  • Post-Brexit rights to healthcare in the UK

Disability benefits

  • Exportable benefits
  • French benefits
  • Help for people who no longer work (full-time)


  • Contesting a CPAM decision

Update dated June 30th, 2023 includes:

  • ‘Direct access’ to be given to certain health professionals such as physios and nurses: what is changing?
  • State refunds for dentistry set to drop: when and what services are affected?
  • Low-cost or free CSS top-up insurance reinstated for S1-holders – UK and EU pensioners can reapply
  • ‘Digitalisation of healthcare’ continues with prescriptions and personal medicines dossier
  • Rise in GP fees is under negotiation – and why some doctors are not following the rules
  • Drug shortages: President Macron has promised to remedy the situation by bringing production back to France 
  • We look at the official website which provides high quality information on French hospitals and clinics

Plus reader question and answers


    This guide is available as a digital file and can be accessed and downloaded from the links provided after checkout and via email.

    The information in this guide is of a general nature, it is not advice which if needed can be sought by instructing a professional on the specifics of your situation.

    All purchases are subject to our terms and conditions.

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