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Health in France

French Government Concedes Further Ground on Health Cover

Friday 01 February 2008

The French Government have conceded that all EU expats legally resident in France as at 23rd November 2007, will be able to join the French health system.

The concession has been made following a major campaign launched in France through the health campaign group French Health Issues. In turn, strong representations to the French authorities were made by Jim Murphy, the UK Minister for Europe, as well as by the British Ambassador in Paris.

In their letter to the British Ambassador explaining their decision, the French Government state they have acted in response to the argument that to refuse access to the State health system for those already in France under an E106 would bring into question their right of residence in France, granted to them under European law.

In short, an E106 certificate fulfills one of the two requirements of European law for a right of residence in another EU State. These two requirements are to have sufficient resources not to be a burden on the social security system, and to hold health insurance.

At IFP, the question we then raise is that, if this interpretation of the law applies to those resident before 23rd Nov 07 (when the new health circular was issued) why does it not apply to E106 holders who become resident after this date? The same principle of law applies. An application to join the State health system by someone holding an expiring E106 merely seeks to retain their right of residence, not to gain it.

It remains to be seen, therefore, whether in the future the new law will be tested on this point.

For the time being, any early retiree from the EU arriving in France after 23rd Nov 07, and remaining 'inactive', will be required to take out private health insurance at the expiry of cover under the E106. Once they have completed five years' continuous residence, they will then be allowed to join the State system.

There are also other grounds on which you may be able to obtain access to the State health system, which you can read about at Getting Health Cover in France.

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