French Social Security and Healthcare
Find out everything you need to know about French Social security and healthcare.
The Babylangues Social Security & Healthcare Guide
Bureaucratic processes in France can be lengthy and difficult to negotiate, but as a worker employed by a French company (Babylangues!) you have many rights, including the right to healthcare. This guide will explain how French healthcare works and how to gain access to it — the Babylangues team is here to help you navigate this! If you have any questions, please have a look at the FAQs at the bottom of this page, and if after that you’re still stuck you can call us on +33 (0)183988747 or email email@example.com.
French Social Security
If you live and work in France, you can apply for a social security number. This is a unique number that allows you access to healthcare, benefits, sick pay and pension (and is generally a very useful thing to have!).
Healthcare in France: A Brief(ish!) Explanation
Healthcare in France is part-funded by the government; state healthcare usually covers the majority of basic doctor’s appointments and a percentage of prescriptions or specialist appointments, and these costs are reimbursed to you through your social security number. Other healthcare costs are then covered by private insurance, or la mutuelle, usually obtained through your employer. Babylangues’ insurance provider, Roederer, charges €8.92 a month per employee. We pay half, and you pay half — this means your healthcare costs you €4.46 a month (and it’s automatically deducted).
Please note: social security and la mutuelle will reimburse most of your medical fees, but there may still be a small sum left for you to pay. Take care — some doctors may also choose to charge higher fees than the national guidelines, and in this case you will receive little or no reimbursement. It’s therefore very important that you find a surgery or medical centre which follows the national guidelines—look for an établissement conventionné that practices tiers payant, and look for a doctor that is conventionné secteur 1. There is a great app called Doctolib which we recommend downloading; you can use this to search for medical centres and to book appointments.
How To Access Healthcare in France in 4 Steps:
Apply For Your Social Security Number
Apply here, or ask us to submit an application for you. We will need a copy of the following:
- Passport or valid ID
- Long-copy birth certificate (this must include your parents’ names on it)
- Work contract
- Visa (if non-EU)
- IBAN of a French bank account (this must be a document in pdf form, not just the number)
N.B. If you are applying for the number yourself – as opposed to through Babylangues – you will also need a proof of address.
Receive (and Use) Your Temporary Social Security Number
- Once you receive your temporary social security number you should request an attestation de droits to be sent to you from l’Assurance Maladie (la CPAM). This document is proof of your cover under the social security system and will give you access to your rights while you wait for your permanent number.
- Show your attestation de droits to the receptionist when you go for a medical appointment, and you will have less to pay!
- Even if you don’t yet have an attestation de droits, you can be reimbursed after your appointment. You need to remember to ask your doctor (and your pharmacist, if necessary) for a feuille de soins (a bit like a medical receipt) which you can then post to your branch of l’Assurance Maladie once you receive your attestation de droits.
Set Up Your Mutuelle
- An attestation de droits or a carte vitale serves as proof of your rights to health insurance in France. You will be asked to provide one of these.
- To get a reimbursement or to request for your mutuelle card to be sent to you, contact Estefania Arnould at Roederer (the company which provides the Babylangues mutuelle). Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Receive Your Permanent Number & Order Your Carte Vitale
- Please be aware that the wait for a permanent number may take up to 12 months.
- Once you have your permanent social security number you can order your carte vitale online via Ameli (https://www.ameli.fr/). This is a physical card which is linked to your bank account and allows you to be reimbursed instantly (or within a couple of days) for your healthcare (both public and private).
Faqs French Social Security & Healthcare
This seems like a very long process – if I’m only in France short-term, why should I bother?
It’s up to you! But please remember that your social security number isn’t just useful for when you have a cold. If you are very ill and need to take time off work, you should ask for an arrêt de travail—we then transfer this to the CPAM (public healthcare) and you’ll get sick pay for your time off. Without a social security number, you can’t access this sick pay.
I don’t have a social security number yet. What do I do if I need to see a doctor?
Unfortunately, you’ll be out of pocket if you see a doctor in France without a social security number. You can still look for the cheaper doctors on Doctolib, an app where you can find available appointments near you (look for doctors that are conventionné secteur 1). If you haven’t yet got a social security number but intend to apply for one, don’t forget that reimbursements can be done retrospectively. Ask your doctor/pharmacist for a feuille de soins and use this to claim your reimbursement once you receive your social security number.
I’m off work ill, and I’ve notified the family(ies) I work with. Is there anything else I need to do?
Yes! Please let us know, and send your arrêt de travail to email@example.com (the doctor will have given you this document if you need to take time off work).
I’m not ill, but I’ve been notified that I am a covid contact case, so I can’t attend work. What should I do?
First, make sure you notify Babylangues immediately – this is really important. You will need to send us your attestation d’isolement (the document stating that you need to self-isolate). We will transfer this to the CPAM and if you have a social security number you will receive compensation for your isolation period.
I can’t find any information online in English explaining French social security and healthcare…
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