Health insurance in France – basic information expats need to know

There is no wonder why people choose France when it comes to relocating to another country. There are many job opportunities here, not to mention that health field is considered one of the best in the whole world. Expats should know that everyone legally residing in France can benefit from health insurance and medical care coverage, but before applying for the “standard” public health insurance, they should first learn more about what it implies.

CPAM – small description

Caisse Primaire de l’Assurance Maladie, or shortly known as CPAM 93, is the institution through which you will receive your health insurance. In most cases, the insurance will cover 60 or 70% of prescription costs and doctor consultation and in case you want these to be covered entirely, you will have to join a “mutuelle” and pay a monthly fee of around €30.

Social Security number

Those who have recently relocated to France are entitled to receive a temporary Social Security number. Worth mentioning is that there are two different types of such numbers expats can receive – those that also have letters in it and those that don’t. In case yours has letters in it, it is for sure a temporary SS number. It contains birth information such as the year and month you were born, it begins with either the number 1 or 2 (1 is for men and 2 for women) and it also contains the number 99, in case you are a foreigner, and the department you were born in in case you are French.

Carte vitale

Carte Vitale is a green card that contains all of one’s health insurance information that the person has to present to the doctor or pharmacist each time. You should know that even though you will have the Carte Vitale with you and present it to the doctor, you will still have to pay the consultation fee, but there is no need to worry about this because you will be reimbursed later. Sometimes it takes a while until you receive your green card, and if during this period you need to see a doctor, you have to ask them give you a feuille de soins, which you will have to fill out and then mail it back to the CPAM. The reimbursement will be performed in a while.

Expats should also know that their health insurances start coverage the very first day they start work. This means that even if it takes a while until they receive their Carte Vitale and their Social Security number, they can still benefit from health insurance coverage and be reimbursed.

Carte d’Europeene d’Assurance Maladie

In case your residence is in France, but you need to travel to another EU country, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you can utilize this card if you need to see a doctor. You may or may not have to pay for consultations and prescriptions, but in case you do, remember to keep all feuille de soins and bills in order to be able to receive reimbursement later.