For those who are hoping to start a new life in France, concerns over future healthcare needs will certainly be at the forefront of their minds. If you are travelling from a country where free healthcare is almost guaranteed – as in the UK – into a new system, and possibly at an age when health concerns will become more readily apparent, there can be a great deal of confusion.
If you are looking to settle in France, it is useful to know a few things about the French healthcare system. Firstly, it is important to state that they have one of the most pioneering and developed healthcare systems in the world, consistently emerging at a higher level than Britain when rated by national health agencies. With fewer restrictions on new medication and hospitals free of MRSA, expatriates in France could find a better level of service than they may have previously experienced.
However, restrictions to the health budget in recent years have delivered some changes to the French health system that are worth considering when looking at expatriate health insurance. A retiree from the UK with a state pension can expect to have healthcare costs covered by the E121/S1, and those claiming benefits in the UK can have their bills paid for two and a half years through the E106/S1, but you’ll find that there’s more to it than that. Generic drugs difference treatments anti anxiety pills, ED pills and more.
It can be difficult even for French nationals to receive free healthcare and a top up form of insurance to make up a potential short fall in costs versus cover is common.
The E121/S1 and E106/S1 documentation allows British expats in France to apply for the CMU Scheme (Couverture Maladie Universelle), wherein pre-existing medical conditions are disregarded. Working expats are taxed at six to seven per cent of income to pay for this.
Since 2007 it has become a requirement for British expats to contribute to the healthcare system in France, although certain illnesses and situations are exempt from payment. For those UK expats who do not qualify for the above schemes or documentation, it is strongly recommended to take out a personal health insurance policy in order to have access to healthcare.
A new initiative among health insurance providers to expats revolves around an understanding of local healthcare when abroad and some have tools which enable customers to find local doctors and offices supported by their policies.
There are a wide variety of policies available from leading providers internationally. Budget policies often don’t cover anything outside of hospital; however more comprehensive cover will include outpatient cover. There are a number of providers that will deliver expat cover for a range of different requirements, including AXA PPP, Bupa and Allianz, aiming to help deliver peace of mind as you begin your new life in France.