Dealing with health costs in hard times

Dealing with health costs in hard times

Many British people in France are still experiencing hard times. It’s called the financial crisis, but there are also significant social effects. The poor £/Euro exchange has hit pensioners living on fixed incomes and also those relying on investment income. Some have decided to return to the UK but others are sticking it out and are looking to make economies or supplementing their incomes by working. We have also had some evidence of younger families and others currently coming to France planning to start a business. In general there seems to be more arrivals than departures.

So can you do anything to help yourself during this crisis? Yes, you can! Read on…


The correct use of your Carte Vitale will help to keep your health costs down, if you:

  • Follow the coordinated care path as advised by your registered GP… in any case, this is often a requirement of complementary health insurers.
  • Avoid the excess fees (called “dépassements”) when you consult a specialist Sector 2 doctor, by choosing one who has opted to work on the co-ordinated care path; if your GP refers you to a specialist, ask to go to one that has opted for this care path.
  • Find out about doctors’ fees beforehand by contacting your CPAM or via the internet on which lists whether doctors are Sector 1 or Sector 2 and also gives examples of their fees.
  • Ensure your Carte Vitale is always up-to-date because this enables you to receive correct CPAM and correct “top-up” reimbursements. Failing to update your CV as and when necessary could have an adverse knock-on effect on both of these because they work in tandem.
  • Accept generic medicaments at your pharmacist.
  • Consult your complementary health insurer to arrive at the right cover for your particular circumstances. This is particularly important as regards hospitalization where the State only reimburses at 80% of the State tariff level, added to which there are daily charges e.t.c and possibly important “dépassements.”In general, we have noticed that acquiring basic state health cover is often a major component when taking a decision to work.And for the neediest people…Try the “Elizabeth Finn Care” British Charity in France.Their web site states: “Need support? Read our eligibility guidelines and grants process, then apply for support using an online enquiry form.”

    British and Irish nationals having barely sufficient income to exist on, also having less than £4000 in savings, are eligible to apply. The required individual assessment may result in a small weekly allowance and/or an extra need gift (e.g. Replacement white goods, home repairs).

    For a really sympathetic hearing, Mary Hughes lives in France and will be pleased to welcome you as this charity’s representative, call: 04 68 23 43 79 or email: [email protected]

    Exclusive Healthcare

    Exclusive Healthcare has recently started a National Help Line Service which is free and without obligation. If you need help and information about the administration and transfer of health cover rights between the UK and France, pre-planning before coming to France or joining the French NHS and allied problems:

    For information regarding health insurance for residents in the French NHS, about top-up health insurance, full cover private insurance or travel insurance:
    Call: France +33 (0)4 94 40 31 45 or +33 (0)9 70 46 31 61
    Email: [email protected]

To discuss the above and your French health insurance needs, visit the exclusive healthcare website:

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