Do I need health insurance when living in France?

The simple answer to that question is: Yes.

Why? The French healthcare system works very differently to the UK. Although a proportion of healthcare costs are covered by the state the remainder is the responsibility of the individual, these costs can be covered either via the mutuelle insurance system or by using individual private insurance.

What is a mutuelle?

A mutuelle is a form of health insurance plan; mutuelles are not-for-profit organisations who provide health cover, pensions and other benefits. You may also regularly see a mutuelle referred to as complementary insurance or Top- Up health cover. Existing UK nationals residing in France will have provided details of their healthcare cover as part of their application for a Carte de Séjour.

Visa Applications in view to becoming resident in France 

During the visa application process Non-EU nationals – including the UK – must prove healthcare insurance cover (for example Temporary Private Health Care or Temporary Health Care insurance).  The initial 6 months in France can be covered under the GHIC card but after this period private insurance will be required.  Once a person is legally resident in France and has received their carte vitale, they can apply for Top-Up Health cover which generally will cost less than private health care insurance.

Why is healthcare insurance cover important?

Medical costs such as a visit to your GP, having an X-ray or a blood test may be relatively small, however, if you require hospital treatment for an operation or following an accident, the medical bill could be expensive. So, if you now live in France or are planning a move, sorting out your health care cover is an important priority. 

Levels of Top-Up health insurance available

Once you are eligible for a carte vitale Top-Up health cover is the most straightforward way of obtaining full healthcare cover. It is flexible too, you can decide whether to pay for a basic package (e.g. to cover the cost of a stay in hospital) or choose a level of cover that is adapted to your personal situation. 

Contact us

With CA Britline, our friendly team of bilingual English-speaking advisors can assist you and help you choose the right policy for you and your family. Our health insurance policies come with a competitive premium and excellent health care coverage. To find out more, please get in touch.


First published: 04th August 2022