Healthcare in France

What coverage are you entitled to?

The French healthcare system is one of the best in the world, offering high quality of services and being easily accessible at the same time. If you are a resident of France, you will be covered by the state social security system which also includes health insurance.

Short-term stays in France

EU/EEA citizens: If you are citizen of one of the EU/EEA countries (which include all 28 EU members, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) and moving temporarily to France or looking for cover at the start of a longer stay, you are automatically entitled to free basic health care due to reciprocal agreements among EU countries. Starting on June 1, 2004, European citizens who are travelling within the European Economic Area are given a European Health Insurance Card, which simplifies the procedure when receiving medical assistance during their stay in a member state. Note that this health card is not an alternative to travel insurance, so private expenses are not covered.

Non EU/EEA citizens: If moving temporarily from a non-EU/EEA country to France, check with your relevant local agency whether there is a bilateral agreement that will provide cover for you in France. These are normally only limited to emergency healthcare and you are advised to get comprehensive private insurance. If you get private insurance, make sure that they provide cover in France. It is advisable to have a local office read the small print so you know what's included (and what's not!).

Being resident in France

If you live (or you are going to live) in France, you should register in the French social security system, which also includes health insurance. For more information, refer to our guide on the French social security system .

If you are covered by social security, your dependants (spouse, children under 20, partner, and other dependants living with the insured) are automatically covered unless they are self-employed. Some foreign students might benefit from a special student coverage.

Subscription to the French social security system (except in some specific cases) gives you the right to rely solely on basic health insurance coverage which usually reimburses only part of medical expenses.

For more information on expat health and related issues in France, visit our expat health blog at ExpatHealth.org .

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