French News Archive

Healthcare in France

How to Obtain a European Health Insurance Card

Monday 06 February 2017

For European nationals resident in France, the process of obtaining a European Health Insurance Card depends on your insurance status.

If you are proposing to travel outside of France to another country within the EEA then in order to ensure you are covered for unplanned healthcare you will need to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

The card will allow you to either receive health care free of charge during your stay, or permit you to be reimbursed your medical costs, depending on the rules and formalities of the country concerned.

In the case of those visiting the UK health care is provided free of charge.

If you are required to pay for health assistance in another country and you do not receive reimbursement in that country, you can apply for reimbursement to your health authority, on your return to France.

You will be reimbursed on the same basis as applies to nationals of the country you visited, although you can elect to be reimbursed on the same terms as applies in France.

You would need to retain all medical bills and make application for reimbursement using the Form Cerfa 12267 'Soins reçus à l'étranger'

Every family member requires their own EHIC.

The process of obtaining a card depends on just how you are covered for health in France. There is no charge for the card.

State Retired Pensioners

Those with an S1 certificate of entitlement, through which health insurance cover is provided from their home country, need to apply to the social security agency in that country for an EHIC.

In the case of British nationals, a card can be obtained from the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team based in Newcastle. Their contact telephone number is 0191 218 1999.

The validity period of the UK EHIC is 5 years.

Cross-Border Workers/Business Owners

If you are temporarily posted to France, or you are a cross-border worker who remains insured in the UK, you also need to obtain your EHIC from the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team based in Newcastle.

The same applies to families who may have relocated to France, but whose breadwinner continues to work in the UK or their home country.

Early Retired/Employee

If you are under retirement age but economically inactive and affiliated to the French health system, through PUMA, you need to obtain your EHIC from your local French health authority

The same applies if you are an employee of a company in France.

The EHIC in France is called the Carte européenne d’Assurance maladie (CEAM) and the local health authority is called the Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM).

You need to apply at least 15 days before your departure date, but if you are late in making application it is possible to obtain a certificate (certificat provisoire de remplacement - CPR) you can use and which is valid for three months.

You can either make application using your Ameli account, by ringing 3646 in France, or visit/telephone your local CPAM.

The period of validity of the CEAM is 2 years. It is not renewed automatically.


If you are self-employed in France your CEAM can be obtained via the Régime social des indépendants (RSI).

More precisely, the card can be obtained from the organisation the RSI have delegated to manage your health cover. In most cases the administrative body is the Réunion des Assureurs Maladie (RAM), but there are several other 'organismes conventionnés', as they are called.

Those in one of the agricultural professions would need to apply to the MSA.

The period of validity of the card is 2 years and it is not renewed automatically.

Privately Insured.

If you are privately insured for health cover in France you have no entitlement to either a EHIC or CEAM.

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