Health coverage for foreign expatriates in France


Health coverage is one of the first concerns of foreigners coming to settle in France. The French social protection and health systems are often at the top of the selection criteria for France as the country of expatriation. Here is what awaits potential expatriates in France.

The principle of coordination

The principle of free movement of persons is one of the foundations of the European Union.

In order to facilitate the free movement of individuals, the principle of coordination of social security systems was established. The latter has two main objectives:

– Allow expats to be covered at all times when traveling within the European Union.

– Avoid expats a double cover during their travels.

The people of the European Union are never insured in two countries at the same time.

Differences in terms of social security between detached / expats / retirees

The legislation differs depending on the scenarios:

  • If you are a European citizen expatriate in France and working in France

You are covered by French social security (so you will contribute in France) . You are entitled to a “carte vitale” (Equivalent to the NINO card in the UK). It is important to note that your family members will also benefit from coverage in France, whether they live there or not. This rule applies to both self-employed and employees.

  • If you are an employee seconded to France for a period not exceeding two years

You are covered by the social security system of the country you normally live in.

  • If you are an expatriate civil servant in France

You are covered by the social security system of the country of your administration.

  • If you are an expatriate pensioner in France

You are covered by the social security system of the country that pays your pension (however, you still have the opportunity to benefit from the French health insurance).

  • If you are a student in France

You are covered by the social security system of your country of origin.

  • If you do not work

You are covered by the social security system of your country of residence (in some countries however, this feature alone is not sufficient).

It is important to note that if you live in France, but you depend on the social security system of another country of the European Union, you must bring a European Health Insurance Card.

Usefulness and addition of a complementary insurance

In France, as elsewhere, social security does not cover all the risks that expatriates may be exposed to.

It may therefore be useful, even essential, to subscribe to an additional insurance.

To meet this demand, many French insurance companies offer health insurance tailored to expatriates to address specific problems they may encounter (repatriation for medical reasons, medical expenses, liability… ).

Take for example the case of civil liability which occupies an important place in France. Civil liability requires you to repair the damages that you could unintentionally cause to others. In some cases, the costs incurred may be particularly important (especially in the case of material or physical damage). Having the civil liability cover therefore seems essential on French territory and all impatriates do not necessarily know it.

It therefore seems sensible to subscribe to one of these expatriate health insurance. To select one that will be most suitable, you can use the available insurance comparators free on the internet.

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