2. Health Insurance Cover 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

2.7. Travelling Abroad from France


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 France.

For this purpose, you will need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by your home EEA country or French authorities, depending on your circumstances.

British nationals living in France prior to Brexit who are covered for health care from the UK (such as pensioners with an S1) remain entitled to an EHIC, which can be obtained from the NHS. These EHICs are marked ‘CRA’ (Citizen’s Rights Agreement). The same applies to those living in France prior to January 2021, who later become entitled to an S1.

British nationals who relocate to France with an S1 issued after Brexit are entitled to a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) for visits within the EEA.

In both cases, if you go abroad from France, any reimbursements to which you will be entitled will all be handled from the UK.

However, those UK nationals who have been issued with an S1 since January 2021 may not be able to obtain full NHS health cover for trips to the UK, although this does not apply to GP visits and emergency treatment. Those with a government service pension continue to have full cover in the UK.

ii. CEAM

If you are not covered from the UK (or other home EEA country) you need to apply to your local French Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM) for a Carte Européenne d'Assurance Maladie (CEAM).

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 two years. It is not renewed automatically.

You will only be entitled to a CEAM if you are registered in the French health insurance system.

The EHIC/CEAM will entitle you to health cover in another EEA country (as well as the UK) 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/UK country outside 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 you were not to 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.

Alternatively, you can seek reimbursement through your on-line account with the health system at Ameli. Go to your account and select « Mes démarches », and then « Remboursements de soins à l’étranger ». You then need to enter the information required, as well as the proof of treatment.

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 can make your request for a card from your Ameli account (under the heading "Mes Demarches"), at the counter of your CPAM or from the Compte Ameli mobile app, which you can download from the App Store or Google Play. The card is available in a digital form from the Compte Ameli app.

If it is a renewal, you can make your request at the counter, by telephone on 36 46 or on your Ameli account (from the Health Insurance website or the application). Multi-service terminals for ordering the European card are available at the CPAMs.

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.

iii. Privately Insured

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.

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