Five Things To Consider When Choosing Medical Insurance in France

Written by on June 19, 2013 in Expat Healthcare

medical insurance in franceWhen you move to France, it is important to consider a number of factors before you decide on the right health or medical insurance policy for you:

1.  Health Insurance is widely known as ‘complementary’:

As you are required to cover anydifference between what the state pays and the total cost of treatment, French residents often take out an insurance policy to cover themselves. This is known as complementary, or top up, health insurance (see our feature What is Top Up Insurance for a clear explanation). The difficulty comes when deciding who to insure yourself with, as there are well over 1,000 providers of complementary medical insurance in France.

2.  There are two different types of insurer:

The two different types of provider of complementary health insurance are mutuelles and the commercial insurers (more on this subject in our Expat Guide to Medical Insurance in France. The difference being that mutuelles are non-profit organisations whereas commercial providers are not. Whilst premiums are not radically different between these two types of insurer, it can be important to understand the underlying philosophy of the provider before you take out a policy.

3. Extra cover is important, but will raise premiums significantly:

French complementary cover has been described as ‘weak’ in the past. There are a number of options that come as extras to a policy which may be expected to be included elsewhere. For example, to avoid the costs of unexpected trips to the hospital, it is important to take out cover against hospitalisation.

This is not the only thing that only comes as an extra, out-patient cover and routine trips to a GP or specialist will also set you back more money than you might expect.

4. Are you comfortable with dealing with health insurers in a foreign language?

It may seem obvious, but having a good understanding of the French language can be very helpful to ensure you get the cover you require. Health insurance policies can be difficult enough to understand in your own language let alone one that you find difficult to comprehend.

5. If you are retiring to France, will your requirements change?

If you are moving to France in order to retire there, it will be worth thinking about the health cover that you may require as you grow older. With advancing age, requirements that you have not considered can become vitally important, so it is important to think thoroughly about what you might need in future before you purchase health insurance.

This advice from a health insurance professional aims to help you gain peace of mind when considering moving to France. These are just five key points relating to a very large industry in France. However, they represent the main things to consider when choosing a health insurance provider, especially if you are considering retirement in France.

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