Healthcare in France is generally of a high standard. With high availability for doctors, hospitals and clinics and usually the waiting list to see specialists tends to be shorter than some neighbouring European countries.
When planning your move to France you need to consider your own and your family’s healthcare needs in terms of cover but as to provision, the French healthcare service has been recognised by the WHO (World Healthcare Organisation) as one of the best National Health Service (NHS) systems in the world. Life expectancy in France (currently an average of 81.4 years) is longer than many other countries and serious diseases are given special treatment and financial aid.
In many countries private full cover insurance is regarded as far better than the local NHS and many people consider it is necessary to ensure quality healthcare. In France this is definitely not the case; in comparison private full cover medical insurance for residents hardly exists.
This is the upside, the downside is that maintaining such a high level of service is expensive and the patient is expected to pay a share of the cost. To cope with such a level of care, a system of paying and being reimbursed a proportion of the costs, according to the specific treatment, is in place. In France having top-up medical insurance that dovetails with the state system is common. It aims to cover the difference between the cost of treatment and the French NHS’s system (and rate) of reimbursement.
Help with the practicalities of healthcare in France for expats
There are many variables in your options but one thing is clear – healthcare is generally not free for expats. You may need to take out a health insurance plan or top up plan and it is important that you know what you need – hospital cover, GP cover, dental cover etc . We have lots of information to help you understand what cover is available and what is best for you.
For more information:
UK issued European Healthcare Insurance Card
How to find a doctor in France
Registering with a doctor in France
Carte Vitale – what it covers and how to get a Carte Vitale