In France, there are two types of Health Care. The first is public and paid for by tax money. This is called the CPAM. The second is Mutuelle. Mutuelle is private health insurance which is often supplied by your French employer or you can provide one for yourself. It is a monthly payment program of insurance which covers the elements of health care not covered by the basic CPAM coverage. The CPAM coverage is run by a system of health care centers through France. To find your local health care center (votre caisse), click here and enter your postal code.
Health care in France is a part of the Social Security system and as such you will be given a social security number which you are to use for all your health care needs. If you become a permanent resident, you will receive a carte viale (health card).This card is to be given to the doctor and pharmacist at each visit. You will pay upfront for your health care and will be reimbursed within a few weeks.
If you are a student under 28 years old, you are covered automatically by the French health care system. If you are a student 28 years old or older, you will have to extend your health care from home to cover you while you are away at school in France.
If you have recently married a French person and you have a job, you will receive your own social security number and card. All you need to do is declare your médecin traitant, which is a general practitioner of your choice. To make this declaration, fill out and send this document to your local health care center. If you do not declare a treating doctor, then your charges will not be covered to the maximum by the public health care and you will end up having to pay for certain charges.
If you are married to a French person and do not have a job outside the home, your status is called Ayant Droit. This means that you have the right to health care by virtue of being the spouse of a French tax payer/citizen. You will technically be under your spouse’s social security number. You must declare this status by sending in this form to your local health care center. Once you receive confirmation that your status is Ayant Droit, you will need to declare a médecin traitant, which is a general practitioner of your choice. To make this declaration, fill out and send this document to your local health care center. If you do not declare a treating doctor, then your charges will not be covered to the maximum by the public health care and you will end up having to pay for certain charges.
If you do not have a carte vitale, after each appointment with a doctor or at the pharmacy you must ask for a Feuille de Soins. The doctor or pharmacists will fill it out. You also must put your French social security number (temporary) on it and sign the bottom. If you have a prescription from the doctor that you filled at the pharmacy, you must include the original (keep a copy) with the Feuille de Soins and send them to your local health care center.
If you have a Mutuelle, be sure to notify your local health center of your choice so that they forward your reimbursements directly to your insurance carrier. If you don’t declare your Mutuelle, you will end up having to do quite a lot of extra paper work.
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