If you have relocated permanently to France and travel elsewhere within the EEA (or Switzerland) you will need to ensure you are covered for unplanned healthcare during your stay outside of France.
For this purpose you will need a European Health Insurance Card, issued to you either by the UK (for British nationals) or French authorities, depending on your circumstances.
Those living in France who are covered for health care from the UK (such as pensioners on an S1) need to apply to the UK NHS for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you go abroad from France any reimbursements to which you will be entitled will all be handled from the UK.
If you are not covered from the UK (or other home EEA country) you need to apply to your local French Caisse for a Carte Européenne d'Assurance Maladie (CEAM).
This Caisee will either be your local Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM) if you are retired or an early retiree, or (normally) the Régime social des indépendants (RSI) for those who run a business in France. You can make application by ringing them up or on-line.
It normally takes a couple of weeks to receive the card, for which there is no charge.
The period of validity of the French CEAM card is one year. It is not renewed automatically. The UK EHIC is valid for five years but is similarly not renewed automatically.
You will only be entitled to a CEAM if you are registered in the French health insurance system.
If you are not in the French health system you will need to take out private health insurance when visiting another EEA country, or be covered via an EHIC from your home country.
The EHIC/CEAM will entitle you to health cover in another EEA country during your visit on the same terms as nationals of that country.
This means you should not be required to pay for any (or most) health care in another EEA country outside of France, but if this does occur you need to apply for reimbursement from the UK or French authorities, as appropriate.
Your reimbursement levels will be those that apply in the country where you received the treatment.
As only part of your health costs may be covered (depending on which basis the health service operates in the country you visit), you may also need to take out separate travel insurance to meet any residual costs, or accept that you will need to pay these costs from your own pocket.
If you are eligible for a card you will need one for everyone who is travelling with you, including children under the age of 16 years.
If you are too late in applying for a CEAM before you travel from France, you may be able to get a certificate from your local Caisse giving you three months cover.
Even if your to not get a certificate, and you later seek reimbursement of health costs incurred abroad, take your receipts to your Caisse and you may still be able to obtain reimbursement, on the same basis as if you were in France or the country from which you have returned. You have the choice.
If you are travelling outside the EEA area then you should check with your local Caisse on any reciprocal arrangements that France may have with the country you are proposing to visit. You will need to complete an application form.
Even though no agreement may have been signed you may still be able to receive reimbursement of some of your medical costs. Make sure you keep all the bills.