France has established a central processing centre to handle applications by EU early retirees for admission into the French health system.
Regular readers of our pages will recollect that last April we reported on news from the European Commission that France had acknowledged that there remained continuing 'problems' for early retirees from the EU in gaining access to the French health system and that they were putting in place a solution to these 'problems'.
An application into the French health system can be made on the expiry of your S1 certificate of entitlement to health care, which you obtain before you relocate to France. The 'problem' is that, in most cases, if you are an early retiree your application will be refused.
We have now received the following communication from the European Commission:
"Following continued pressure from the Commission to comply with the requirements of EU law, the French authorities established in mid-July 2013- a new centralised administrative system in Nîmes to deal with all new applications by non-active EU nationals to join the CMU.
Applications should still be made to the local CPAM and, if the applicant is a non-active EU national, the application is sent to Nimes for processing.
The Commission is hopeful that this new centralised system will resolve the problems of non-compliance with EU law, but notes that the 2011 Circular on CMU admission remains in place.
The Commission is currently monitoring how the new centralised system is working – no reports of refusals have been received so far."
What remains unclear from this statement is whether applications that have previously been refused by the local health authority will be now sent to the Nimes centre for review and processing.
Similarly, there is no information to whom an applicant would appeal in the event of
their application being turned down by the processing centre. There is a
legal right of appeal that does exist, but it is normally to a local
Our instincts are to think that that if your application has been turned down by your local CPAM you will need to request that it is reopened and sent to the new processing centre.
As there is no evidence from the Commission statement that the rules have been changed there can be no certainty that it will be sent for review, or that, even if it is, the application will be treated in compliance with European law.
However, the creation of this centre will at least make it easier to monitor the treatment of applications, and for the EU to determine if there is continued non-compliance.
As the statement only refers to EU early retirees, we presume that all applications from retired EU nationals and all non-EU nationals will continue to be dealt with on a local basis.
We have published numerous previous articles that set out the application process for admission into the health system, as well as the legal framework, but a summary can be found at Appeals Against Refusal of Health Cover.
I shall be presenting a seminar on expatriate health cover in France in our French Village at A Place in the Sun Live, Birmingham NEC 27th to 29th Sept. Ed.