Medical Insurance Options for Expatriates in France

Residents of France are all covered by the French governmental health insurance program, la Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (known as CPAM). In fact, this is required by French law to cover everyone legally residing in France – whether native born or immigrant, permanent or temporary. In almost every case, your employer will enroll you in the program. If, however, the company does not enroll you, see (in French) for more information on how to enroll. There is a helpline, in English for questions about the system and/or your rights and benefits.

  • 36 46 from France (local call price from fixed-phone line except additional cost imposed by certain operators of fixed or mobile telephony)
  • +33 811 70 36 46 from foreign countries (call rates vary between operators)

Supplemental Insurance

Despite the comprehensive coverage of the French system, it is quite common to have supplemental private insurance (a ‘mutuelle’), whether funded individually or via your employer. These private insurance programs cover the gap between what you pay, and what CPAM reimburses you for, especially in regards to prescriptions, dental and eye care. This is neither required nor necessary and depends entirely upon the personal medical situation of you and your family. Most doctors and hospitals in France participate in CPAM. If you would like to see which practitioners do or do not participate in CPAM, and the fees that they charge if they are outside the system. You can search for a practitioner by name, specialty or procedure required.

Private Insurers in France

There are a plethora of private health insurance companies in France, known as ‘mutuelles’. Tarifs will vary enormously depending upon your age, sex and general health and it is therefore impossible to give a general range. Most large employers will have an ‘in house’ mutuelle for which they will often pay, or supplement, for you. Be sure to check with your Human Resources department. If you decide to go wholly private, below are some suggested companies to contact for a personalized quote:

International Health Insurance for Expats in France

Most expatriates and global citizens in France will consider obtaining a global health insurance plan that will cover them in France, but also regionally and globally. For example, you may want to be able to seek medical treatment and be covered when you are traveling or back in your home country. Also, many expatriates may not be eligible for health coverage when they move to France, so an expat health plan is a great solution.

Private Hospitals

There is no need for expatriates to immediately associate themselves with a private clinic or hospital upon arrival in France. Hospitals in France, public or private, treat all patients with CPAM. Your private mutuelle may pay the difference between CPAM’s reimbursements and the hospital or clinic’s fees. If you have a specific medical condition or are anticipating giving birth in France, you may want to explore your options for treatment – and include in that list the many private hospitals or clinics which are available to you. Be sure that your chosen provider has the right to practice in the hospital or clinic that you have chosen.