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)
  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.

Such cover may be obtained by various means.

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. This guide is written primarily for those arriving from the UK.

Although the UK has voted to leave the EU, the S1 will remain in place until 31st Dec 2020. Those who have an S1 will continue to be able to use them in perpetuity after the end of the transition period, which ends on 31st December 2020.

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 who are in employment or business in France automatically gain entry into the State health system.

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

Since 2015, early retirees from the UK are no longer eligible for an S1 certificate. We set out in later pages how to get health cover in France.

For those who are unable to access the State system, private health cover remains the only alternative.

Next: Health Cover for Self-Employed

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