While many aspects of France’s healthcare system are reimbursed for those who have a Carte Vitale and a mutuelle (top-up health insurance), you will still have to pay a fee upfront whenever you visit the doctor’s in France. Here’s what you need to know.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Doctor in France?
As of May 2017, the visit to your primary care physician, known as médicin généraliste or médicin traitant is €25.00. With regard to children’s consultations, there are no longer age brackets to define the tariff applied. The fee for a consultation for a child under six years old is €30.
These consultation fees must be paid directly to the doctor (or receptionist) during your appointment, either by cash or debit or credit card (it’s worth checking whether or not your doctor’s surgery accept cards as not all do). You will also be asked to present your Carte Vitale.
So, how does reimbursement work? Having presented your Carte Vitale, the state will automatically reimburse you for 70% of the fee – note that this is actually 70% of €24. Everyone in France is obliged to pay a token €1 fee for doctor’s appointments. Therefore, you will be reimbursed €16.50.
For those who also have a mutuelle (top-up health insurance), the difference (€7.50) will often be reimboursed by your mutuelle.
Note that these state-regulated fees are for a ‘médecin conventionné’ – there are also private doctors available and their fees may vary.
Why do I have still have to pay €1?
Everyone in France is obliged to pay a flat-rate contribution of €1 for all doctor’s appointments. However, there is a maximum daily payment for medical acts of 4 euros, as well as a maximum annual payment of 50€.
For example, if you had a consultation with a doctor who then, say, recommended an X-Ray, you would end up paying 2 euros. If more than four different medical appointments were scheduled in one day, you wouldn’t pay more than €4.
What about if I don’t have a Carte Vitale?
If you don’t have a Carte Vitale in France, you may still visit a doctor and you will simply pay the €25. If you have private health insurance coverage, you can ask for a feuille de soins-médecin, a medical receipt, which you will then forward to your insurer to request a reimbursement. Don’t forget to ask for this document at your appointment – you will need it to make a claim.
Visiting a specialist
Most treatment is channelled through the doctor with whom you are registered – the médicin traitant. This channelling is known as the parcours de soins. If you seek treatment outside the parcours de soins – going direct to a specialist without a recommendation from a médicin traitant for example, your rate of reimbursement will be reduced from 70% to 50%. The exception is seeking direct consultations with an opthalmologist or gynaecologist.
Charges for Prescription Medicine
You may find that there is a considerable difference in price from one pharmacy to another, so if you are a regular user of non-prescribed medicines it may be worth shopping around. Many pharmacies will take both your Carte Vitale and your mutuelle, and you will often only have to pay the amount outstanding (or nothing if the entire amount is covered).