For many of those planning to move to France in the future, or who arrived in the country from 23 November, 2007, full private health insurance is now a must.
If you find yourself in need of private health insurance take a look at our guide on what you need to consider when trying to decide which insurer to choose. Remember, as much as you can you need to be able to compare like with like or as close to this as possible. This is what you need to take account of:
1. THE EXTENT OF COVER
Does the policy cover what you need and to the level you would require it. For example, hospitalisation, out-patient visits, GP visits, dental and optical care, all prescribed pharmacies, etc. If you are on a budget, think carefully about what you need the most and/or what would be the most expensive if you need to pay for it yourself.
Does the policy contain any excesses which must initially be paid by the client initially toward any one illness or treatment. For example, with hospitalisation, do you have to pay the first €200 of the total cost? Not all companies have this, but the difference is likely to be reflected in the premiums (your payment) – those that do have excesses may offer lower premiums to those that don’t.
3. HOW IS PAYMENT ASSESSED?
Is it always a full refund of the total cost? Are there specific limits on particular types of illness or procedures, such as optical care. Or does the private health insurer link the calculation of the payment to the Tarif de Convention and related percentages.
4. PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
Most companies on pre-existing conditions will normally exclude these maladies from cover, although this can vary depending on each company’s moratorium policy. Some minor conditions may be considered, although these are often linked to an increase in premium. This is at the discretion of the company concerned so you need to ask. When applying there is always a medical questionnaire which will request your previous medical history. Maldeclaration can lead to the disqualification of cover.
5. SOURCING POLICIES AND PRICING
It is possible to source policies from within France or from abroad, but our view is that it is preferable to choose from a major French supplier or from a company that has a presence in France because they apply French law and that can be beneficial.
As for how much you would expect to pay, the cost of a policy varies greatly from one person to another as it reflects a variety of factors for example, the extent and level of cover, the existence of any excesses, and the age of the client.
As a guide to the variation of premiums found in the market, we have recently reviewed three typical policies available to a person of 55 years, and the premiums ranged from €1618 to €4740 annually.
By Nick Chubb from French insurance experts, Asttral