Guide to French Health System


2. Health Insurance in France

  1. Introduction
  2. Health Cover for Self-Employed
  3. Health Cover for Cross Border Workers
  4. Health Cover for Retired Persons
  5. Health Cover for Early Retirees
  6. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)/Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
  7. Travelling Abroad from France

2.1. Introduction

If you are proposing to relocate to France, then to be legally resident you are obliged to have health insurance cover.

The route you take to obtain health cover will depend on your circumstances and your nationality. In the following chapters we set out the rules as they apply to different groups.

i. EEA Nationals

For some groups of EEA (European Economic Area) nationals a certificate of health entitlement is in place to assist eligible individuals with free movement around the EEA.

The certificate means that you will get access to health care in France on the same terms as French nationals. You will not need to pay French social security health contributions.

These certificates of entitlement are known as 'S' forms, (formerly 'E' forms).

There are also 'A' forms covering cross-border workers and 'U' forms covering unemployed persons, sometimes used in conjunction with an 'S' form.

An S1 (formerly E106/E121) is also often issued to someone whose family relocates to France whilst they continue to work in the UK or another EU country.

The precise rules of eligibility for the S1 differ between countries within the EEA.

Although the UK has now left the EU, those who relocated to France prior to 2021 continue to benefit from their former rights.

For those who reach the age of retirement and in receipt of a State Pension from their home country, S1 cover is on a permanent basis.

Those on long-term incapacity benefit (ESA) under the age of retirement are entitled to apply for an S1.

Those who are in employment or business in France automatically gain entry into the State health system, whether an EEA national or a 'third-country' national.

ii. UK Nationals

UK nationals who relocate to France from 2021, no longer benefit from EEA rights.

They will need a visa to obtain access to live in France, which will require they take out private health insurance.

However, after three months legal residence they can apply to join the French health system.

Similarly, they are automatically entitled to health cover if they take employment or set up a business.

iii. Other Nationals

All other nationals are in the same position as UK nationals; you will need to obtain a visa to live in France, which will require you take out private health insurance, although you can later apply to join the French health system.

iv. Visitors

EEA nationals can obtain an EHIC, and a GHIC is also available to UK nationals. We set out the rules in later chapters.

All other nationals will need travel insurance.


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