If you reside in France and are subscribed to the French Social Security you are free to choose the health specialist you want, such as a general practitioner, specialist, or dentist, hospital centers or private clinics, and more.
If what you have is an international insurance, you should check the medical centers where you can go to receive medical treatment. There may be specific private facilities where only your insurance provider will cover your treatment.
How to choose a good place or specialist
The vast majority of doctors and hospitals in France have an agreement with Social Security, which means that fees are charged at standard rates. You should check if the health professional or organization is part of the agreement are the Social Security, before or during your first visit, it is very likely that private clinics are probably not within this group, otherwise the Social Security reimbursements will be lower than normal. In this case, even an additional private insurance may not cover them completely. A good way to know about doctors and medical centers is in the yellow pages of the phone book. How to request a medical appointment All medical appointments are made by phone. For a general practitioner, you should usually ask for it 1-3 days in advance, on the other hand to request an appointment with a specialist up to 1-2 weeks. If you have a difficulty which requires special treatment in public hospitals, the waiting time can be much longer, even a few months. The health system in France The French health care system is ranked among the best in the world, due to its high quality of services and easy accessibility at the same time. In case you move to France, you will be covered by the state social security system that also includes health insurance. Short Term Stay in France European Union citizens (EU): If you are a citizen who was born in one of the countries that make up the European Union and you temporarily move to France or seek coverage at the beginning of a long-term residence, you automatically have the right to free basic health care in France due to reciprocal agreements between the countries of the EU. Since June 1, 2004, European citizens who travel within the European Economic Area are given a European Health Insurance Card, which simplifies the procedure when they receive medical assistance during their stay in a Member State. The European Health Insurance Card replaces the E111 and E111B, E110, E128 and E119 formats. Outside the European Union citizens (EU): If you are on a temporary transfer in a country outside the EU to France, check with your relevant local agency if there is a bilateral agreement that gives you coverage in France. These normally only cover medical care limited to emergencies and it is advisable to obtain private coverage. If you get private insurance, make sure you have coverage in France, have a local or associate office and read the small letters so you know what they cover and what they do not cover. As resident in France: If you already live or you want to move to France, you should subscribe to the French Social Security System, this includes health insurance. If you have French Social Security, your close relatives as spouse, children under the age of 20, a couple and other dependents living with the insurance are automatically covered unless they are independent. If you are a foreign student you can benefit from a special social security coverage for students.
Regardless of whether you are insured in France or in your country of origin, you are generally required to pay medical expenses when they are generated, for example, when you buy prescribed medicines or for medical exams. In this case you can request a refund from your insurer. A general practitioner can usually charge you for a consultation an approximate amount of € 20-25 and a € 25-30 specialist. Rates will be higher at night or on weekends - even a home visit costs much more.
Payment methods vary: doctors usually prefer payment by check and some organizations may not accept cash. There are some like hospitalizations or if you are covered by a specific insurance can you be exempt from advance payment.
In case you have an international medical insurance, what you should do is keep the treatment documents and the invoices of your expenses in this country. Make copies and send the originals to your insurer, following any other requirement that your insurance policy may request.
If you are enrolled in the French Social Security, you need to send a completed form to your CPAM (Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie). These are published by a doctor or a medical organization. Keep a photocopy of this form in case it gets lost. When you make a first demand, you must include the details of your bank account, called RIB (Relevé d'Identité Bancaire) so that the payment can be made. Refunds may take from 2 to 3 weeks. If you have a Life Card and the place where you assist is linked to the Social Security system, you only have to pay the non-reimbursable part instead of having to request it back later.
Much of the medical costs are usually reimbursed if you are subscribed to the French Social Security system. For example:
Supplemental Private Insurance: The non-reimbursable medical expenses of the French Social Security remain in your account. This is the reason why many people in France choose to take complementary private insurance. This additional coverage partially or totally covers the percentage of medical costs not paid by the general Social Security system. Some employers usually pay a part or in other cases all the supplemental coverage of an employee. In our directory, you will find a list of some mutual health insurance organizations.
Special health coverage
Health insurance for the disabled
The French state has medical care for all the people living in France. In some cases, you can even benefit from special programs for people with financial problems.
If, due to external factors, you are not covered by the system of the country in which you were born and you are not eligible for the basic Social Security schemes, which includes medical insurance, there are systems from which you can receive benefits from the medical systems of medical care, Universal Coverage of Medical Insurance (CMU) or State Medical Assistance (AME).
Universal Medical Insurance
When a French resident is not covered by another insurance they have the possibility of being chosen for a CMU coverage (Couverture Maladie Universelle), which provides maternity and sickness coverage in the same proportion as the general Social Security schemes. There are two types of CMU:
In this type of CMU, you pay medical expenses and these are reimbursable according to the defined rates. If your annual income is less than € 6,721 it will be free. If they are higher, a small level of contribution should be paid.
In case you qualify for an additional CMU membership, it will be free and no payment is required for any medical expenses (doctors, prescribed medications, hospitalization, etc.).
Household income must be below a certain level depending on how many people are in the house:
There are certain requirements that you must have to be eligible for any CMU, such as:
State Medical Assistance
This assures you basic health care for illegal alien residents, you can be eligible if you meet certain requirements:
Evidence that you have been living in France for at least three months, you can use an expired visa, passport, notification of the denial of the asylum request, registration of a child in a school, electricity bill, gas, and other things as proof.
And your monthly income must be below an established level, which is reviewed every year, during the 12 months before requesting AME. The level depends on how many people living in the house and is the same for the previous CMU.
Where to go in case of an emergency
In case you have an emergency, do not worry about medical insurance and direct as quickly as possible to the nearest emergency room.
Under French law, any health organization, public or private, is obliged to treat patients in an emergency situation regardless of their insurance status. However, the responsibility for deciding what constitutes an emergency rests with the medical team.
Sexual health in France
It does not matter where in the world you are, sexual health is a priority, and knowing how the picture is when you move to another country is vital to make sure you stay healthy.
If you live in France and plan to get involved in sex, you should know that you should practice safe sex and know about social norms regarding sex.
Education and social norms
Sex education has been taught in French schools since 1973. Students receive between 30 and 40 hours of sex education throughout the school year, and schools must provide students in grades 8 and 9 with condom education. Information and campaigns on contraception have been provided to high school students, seeking to promote gender equality, respect between boys and girls and sexual intelligence.
In 2015, efforts began to promote the right of women to choose the type of contraceptive of their choice. The curriculum focuses mostly on STDs and gender equality, all appropriate for their age, but it is believed that they are falling behind in terms of sexual rights. But like all countries, there are radical and conservative groups that have come out against sex education in children.
Use of contraceptives
81.8 percent of sexually active people in France use some type of contraceptive, making it the third country with the highest percentage of contraceptive use in Europe, after the United Kingdom and Malta. However, the condom is used by only 4.7 percent of married women or couples. The contraceptive of preference for women between 15 and 24 years, which has become more popular lately, is the first and second generation contraceptive pill.
Getting contraceptives in France is quite easy, as it is a country open to the subject and you try to educate and encourage people to practice safe sex.
Abortion in France was legalized in 1975 and approximately 17 over 1,000 women between 15 and 44 years old take this method. Medical care for pregnant women, including abortion, in France is covered by social insurance, as long as you announce your pregnancy to the branch of government that deals with all family issues. Abortions are allowed until 12 weeks of gestation. After that period, the abortion can only be carried out if the doctors believe that the pregnancy poses a risk to the health of the mother or if there are abnormalities in the fetus. After consulting about abortion, there is a mandatory period of 7 days of 'cooling off' for the woman to think about her decision. This period can be shortened to 2 days in case the patient is close to 12 weeks of gestation. Women under 18 do not require authorization from their parents to perform an abortion, as long as they are accompanied by an adult of their choice to the clinic. The adult in question is not allowed to discuss abortion with parents or with third parties. Underage and single women should attend therapy for a week after the procedure. Doctors are authorized to refuse to perform an abortion.