During your stay in France, you must have health insurance to cover your medical expenses. The actions to be taken may vary depending on your status and your length of stay.
The Primary Health Insurance Fund (CPAM)
Anyone who works or resides in France on a stable and regular basis has the right to have their health costs covered. The French social security system provides medical coverage, and has two particular branches: Sickness and Occupational Injuries.
The CPAM covers part of your health expenses. For example, a visit to a general practitioner will be reimbursed at 70%. This is why we advise you to take out a supplementary health insurance policy to better cover your health insurance needs.
In order to register to the Social Security scheme, and get your health expenses covered, you will have to contact the CPAM. The procedures for affiliation will depend on your status in France.
Once you have registered to the CPAM, you will obtain your definitive national insurance number. You will then be able to create your account on the Ameli website, which will allow you to request your carte vitale.
Your carte vitale is a personal card that contains all the information necessary for the reimbursement of your health expenses. In particular, you must have it with you when you visit your general practitioner.
Important: Declare your general practitioner
Also called a medical practitioner, the GP usually receives you by appointment at his medical office. He is the person who coordinates all your health needs: he is the person you visit when you are ill, when you have a minor non-emergency injury or when you need an appointment with a specialist. He or she is allowed to prescribe medications that are only available on prescription.
To make an appointment with a doctor, the easiest way is to log on to the Keldoc or Doctolib
platforms and search for an available GP near your home.
In order to receive full reimbursement from the CPAM, you will have to choose and declare a single general practitioner.
With general practitioners who do not practice third-party payment, you will systematically have to pay medical expenses up front.
You have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Nationals of a European Union country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland can obtain this card free of charge, which will allow them to benefit from public health care during a temporary stay in France. The EHIC is issued by the health insurance organisation in your country. For more information, please visit the European Commission website.
You are coming to France for a short stay and you are not employed in France
If you are coming to France for a 3-4 month stay as a self-employed person, you must take out private health insurance to cover your health expenses for the whole of your stay. This may be an insurance policy taken out in your home country. You will also find various health insurance policies in France. You can also benefit from offers negotiated with a partner-insurer of Euraxess France, after having registered in our database.