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Date : 11th Mar 2016

Question :

A friend of mine went into hospital for 9 days recently after developing numbness and tingling in her arm and down her right side. After various tests she was allowed home as she was told that nothing serious had happened but she was given a prescription for medication and told to have regular checkups with her doctor.

Not long after her discharge she received details of the total hospitalisation costs, which amounted to €9000 fortunately CPAM contributed €6000 but if my friend had not been properly insured then she would have had to find the missing €3000! When you are living on an old age pension I find this quite alarming. Surely costs in hospital have not risen so dramatically in the last couple of years as we have never received a bill like this when we have hospitalized?

Reply :

The treatment is hospital is all linked to a code and this determines the cost and the reimbursement by the French healthcare system. It appears that your friend was kept in for observation and tests therefore as she did not undergo a medical intervention as such this means that she would have been charged 20% of the ward costs as well as the daily administration charge, this soon amounts up as you have recently found out! Incidentally one day’s admission into hospital without any healthcare protection at all in place would cost approx €1000 depending on the ward you are admitted to.


Date : 1st Mar 2016

Question :

I am having difficulty understanding how the reimbursements are made under my complementary policy, what does BR actually stand for?

Reply :

BR is the abbreviation for base de reimbursement, otherwise known as the tariff de convention or base seçu. The reimbursement for your claim is then calculated in conjunction with the base/scale as set out by your CPAM/RSI processing centre and the level of policy you have elected for.


Date : 20th Feb 2016

Question :

I was kept in hospital for 3 days for surveillance and various tests, why did I receive a Invoice for over €800. Surely this should be covered 100% by my carte vitale?

Reply :

All medical acts have a code that is related to the tariff de convention. Since you did not undergo an actual medical intervention your carte vitale would only cover 80% of the ward costs, therefore the remaining 20% is at your expense as well as the administration charge of €18.00 per day.


Date :1st Feb 2016

Question :

Can I change my medecin traitant? (personal doctor)

Reply :

Yes. You can easily change your general practioner in France, but you will need to complete a new S3704 form, together with your new doctor and it must be registered with your healthcare provider CPAM/RSI… - so that they can update their records.Failure to do this could mean that your consultations will be processed as being outside of the care path and you will receive a lower rate of reimbursement.


Date :18th Jan 2016

Question :

When I arrived in France I registered my S1 (ex E106) with my local CPAM office but have since started up my own business under the body of the RSI administration system. I am confused to who is now responsible for my healthcare rights and claims expenses?

Reply :

The CPAM and RSI are two different schemes and they do not communicate with each other. The moment you receive a confirmation from the RSI, confirming that you are affiliated to their healthcare scheme, you must inform the CPAM centre of this change of situation since you cannot belong to two healthcare schemes at the same time.

The RSI will then be responsible for your healthcare expenses and will supply you with a carte vitale programmed to this effect.


Date :19th Dec 2015

Question :

I have recently purchased a house in France, does this give me automatic access into the French healthcare system?

Reply :

I’m afraid that the reply is not that simple, the purchase of a house alone does not give you this right. There are many factors involved, largely depending on your age and personal circumstances.

For further information regarding your options it would be advisable to contact us


The following FAQ’s are a typical example of the things we are asked day-to-day:

Date : 14th Dec 2015

Question :

When I retire will all my health costs be free?

Reply :

Sorry to say – the reply is No

Question :

Will a doctor’s consultations and medicines for my child be free as in the UK?

Reply :

No. The basic healthcare system reimburses 70% for the consultation and different levels (65% 35% or 15%) for medicines.

Question :

Do I have to register with a doctor, and if so, why?

Reply :

It is in your interest that you are registered and have completed a declaration S3404. If not, you will receive a reduced rate of reimbursement.

Question :

What are the criteria for obtaining entry into the French Healthcare System?

Reply :

There are various options and the answers are based on an individual basis – further details are available on request.

Question :

If I have to go into hospital either as an emergency or for a planned operation will I have to pay?

Reply :

Yes, as there are administration costs called Forfait journalier (daily bed/breakfast costs) – you will be charged for all of this. As for an operation or medical treatment, you could be invoiced for 20% of the frais de sejour – these are medical fees and ward charges. Intensive care charges vary and are costly.

The above examples are applicable when you are affiliated to the French healthcare system and they could also be applied for treatment that has been administered using a European healthcare card (EHIC).

One should be aware that all treatment establishments in France, be they hospitals or cliniques (which, although they are privately run, are nearly all classed as conventionée, with medical costs controlled by the governing body known as CPAM) are the equivalent of a state hospital, and should not be confused with the private system as run in the UK.


Date :30th Nov 2015

Question :

I am an OAP in receipt of a state pension and take regular medication in the UK, which I do not pay for. How would I continue to obtain these if I move to France as my decision rather depends on this?

Reply :

A UK prescription can be handed over the counter at a chemist in France in the interim, however you will have to pay out of your own pocket for the medication at the going rate. This is contrary to the UK system that is free for your age group and they are not at a 'set' price per item. Prices vary. You may have a problem claiming these expenses back, depending on what type of travel insurance you have in placeA UK prescription can be handed over the counter at a chemist in France in the interim, however you will have to pay out of your own pocket for the medication at the going rate. This is contrary to the UK system that is free for your age group and they are not at a 'set' price per item. Prices vary. You may have a problem claiming these expenses back, depending on what type of travel insurance you have in place.

However, if you decide to make a permanent, move then you would have to go through the procedure of transferring your healthcare rights from the UK to France via an S1 health form, which will be converted via the French social security healthcare system rights and you will receive a new social security number. You would then be invited to register with a French doctor who will no doubt do his own blood tests to see if he is agreement with the type of medicines you need. He/she will then be officially responsible for your care path.

Depending on the category of the medication, you may then obtain 100/65/35/15%/0% reimbursement via your French social security number, as set out by the French health authorities known as the tariff de convention and you may wish to consider insuring for the shortfall not reimbursed by the state.

Further details can be obtained on our website.


Date :26th Nov 2015

Question :

I have a carte vitale and I am going on holiday to Australia for several months, I believe I can claim back any medical expenses incurred on my return to France?

Reply :

You need to clarify with the authorities who issued your carte vitale for the following reasons:

If you have paid social security contributions into the French healthcare system via employment or under the self employed category, then your carte vitale offers reciprocal agreement for medical expenses in various countries, as set out by the French authorities.

However, if you have obtained your carte vitale via your UK health benefits, ie an S1 health form, these reciprocal agreements may not be applicable because you have effectively paid your social security dues into the UK health system.

The Department of Works and Pension in Newcastle would be the correct place to seek clarification before you leave, if this is your case.


Date :18th Nov 2015

Question :

If I purchase a property in France does this entitle me to french social security rights?

Reply :

To be able to affiliate into the French healthcare/social security system you have to consider all your options pertinent to your situation.

This will also depend on your age and personal circumstances as having a French address does not entitle you ‘automatically’. There are protocols to comply and qualify with.


Early retiree arriving in France.

Date : 30th Oct 2015

Question :

I am in the process of buying a property in France and I am not yet at the age to qualify for a UK state pension, I believe that the short term S1 health form has stopped being issued for early retirees. How do I go about obtaining health cover?

Reply :

You are quite correct as the short term S1 health form for persons no yet in receipt of a UK state pension is not longer available as of 1st July 2014.

The good news is that you can now make an application to join the French healthcare scheme via CMU (couverture Maladie Universelle) once you have been a resident in France in a regular and stable manner after 3 months. You will have to provide various justifications and the application process could take many months to obtain a reply. In the meantime you should consider making enquiries to obtain a comprehensive first euro health policy in place if possible, as all medical expenses will be at your charge during this period, especially if you are taken ill suddenly.

For example one day in hospital for observation could cost approx €1000.


I am British; can I be included on my French husband’s healthcare policy?

Date : 27th Oct 2015

Question :

My husband is French and has a carte vitale and is also registered in the UK health system. I am British and would like to be included on his healthcare policy, what do I need to do?

Reply :

This appears to be an unusual situation as normally you can only be registered in one healthcare scheme at a time, and that is in the country where you are a permanent resident.

If you and your husband have permanent address/residence, then in France you should request to be put on your husband’s French social security number via the healthcare provider that he is registered with and who has supplied his carte vitale ie CPAM/MSA/RSI. Your husband will have to complete the necessary form ayant droits (dependant beneficiary) and you will have to present your passport and marriage certificate, to avoid identity problems.

Alternatively, if you are in receipt of a UK state pension you can obtain a S1 health form from the Department of Works and Pensions in Newcastle, which will be issued and posted to your French address. You will need to hand the S1 health form in person into your local social security office (CPAM) together with a French utility bill (Edf, Telecom) and a copy of your passport. Therefore your husband will not need to complete the ayant droits form as you will receive your own French social security number in your own right.

Once you receive the Attestation de droits (confirmation) from the relevant healthcare provider you will then be able to: 1.be added to your husband’s healthcare policy or 2. Obtain a health cover policy in your own name/social security number.


Date : 19th Oct 2015

When it comes to healthcare in France, ‘Be prepared’ is the motto

It could be that you are in the throes of moving to France, planning a future move or already settled in. Health cover issues across the board tend to be ignored as it’s often the last thing on your mind or on your list of things to do. But why? Procrastination? Or could it be that we generally think we are a healthy lot? We eat a balanced diet, we exercise regularly, indulge in ‘everything in moderation’ – so why feel the need to contemplate a health cover policy? After all, we have never needed one in the past and one convinces oneself that if anything big happens we can just jump on a plane or hop across the channel.

We even convince ourselves that in the worst case scenario surely my entitlement to health care in France will fully protect me? We assume that the health system can t be that different, after all we are in Europe. So, one plods along listening to other folks accounts of their tribulations, secretly thinking ‘that will never happen to me’. Well it just might…

Ignorance is bliss – why is this? The reason behind this could be simply because you just don t know who to turn to and ask about those small niggling doubts. We would like to bring to your attention just how one’s illusions can blind you to the realities of the unexpected. The French healthcare system is very complex and can be daunting, especially when you are a newcomer. It takes time to absorb and you are slowly getting au fait with the new language, not to mention the mounds of paperwork. You probably ask yourself ‘how I am I ever going to understand and come to grips with it all?’ Especially all those terms used….. Carte/Attestation Vitale, Le ticket modérateur, La Franchise médicale, Tiers payant, Télétransmission, prise en charge and Dépassement...

Our company founder Larry Fulton thought all the above. He was enjoying la belle vie until something unexpected happen to him and he ended up in hospital with a bill to pay. His first-hand experience made him realize that he had to help others before they found themselves in the same situation. He felt a strong need to explain it in simple terms and he believes that by making people aware of the risk there are running they will avoid falling into the same false sense of security that he did.

His motto is ‘We want to help you to help yourself so that you can enjoy your life in France’.

Testimonials about Exclusive Healthcare: “You have been most helpful you have given me far more information then I have been able to obtain elsewhere.” 18/11/10

“Thank you very, very much for all your help and prompt responses, it has been such a pleasure having you to deal with when I’ve had enquiries, thank you so much.” 16/07/10

“I’m so grateful to you for your help. Dealing with a company like yours definitely helps to lessen the stress of the bureaucracy and you’re certainly living up to your ‘Helping Hand Logo’. Thanks again.” 13/05/10

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent service. It has been an absolute pleasure dealing with your company.” 11/05/10


Date : 8th Oct 2015

Question :

I am in receipt of a UK government pension do I qualify for an S1.

Reply :

UK Pensioners who are in receipt of a UK State Retirement Pension and who wish to habitually reside in France, have a right to EC Health Form S1 from the Dept for Work & Pensions (DWP) in Newcastle upon Tyne. 

A UK government pension is  not valid  for DWP/S1 purposes. Typical UK government pensions are those received by civil servants and the armed forces but other sorts of UK government pensions also exist. If you are in doubt about whether your  particular pension is a UK government pension  you are advised to contact HMRC for their decision.


Date : 8th Sept 2015

Question :

I recently had major treatment back in UK spread over a period of time as I felt speaking in a foreign language was too much of a barrier for me, however when I came back to my permanent home in France I was surprised to receive invoices for all the follow up treatment as my carte vitale had stopped working, I have had many months of trying to sort these expenses out. Have you any idea why this has happened?

Reply :

There are protocols to follow once you are affiliated into the French healthcare system as an expatriate. If you had discussed your wish to undergo treatment in the UK with your registered doctor in France he might have be able to put the correct procedure in place for you beforehand. However, if you had decided to seek this by yourself then once you underwent the medical treatment in the UK, the health authorities would have presumed that you were residing back there permanently therefore your French healthcare rights would have been cancelled automatically, as you cannot be registered in two health systems at the same time.


Date : 8th Sept 2015

Question :

I obtained my French social security healthcare rights via S1 health form a few years ago, however I have decided to move back to the UK permanently. Can I keep my Carte Vitale for when I come back in the future to France on holiday?

Reply :

If you are leaving France to move back to the UK permanently, then you should advise the French authorities of your departure and hand the carte vitale back to them as this is considered as a change of situation and they need to be informed. The carte vitale is programmed for a limited time and therefore once you are registered in the UK health system it will be canceled through the exchange of information between the two countries.


Date : 30th Jun 2015

Question :

I am in the process of buying a property in France and I am not yet at the age to qualify for a UK state pension, I believe that the short term S1 health form has stopped being issued for early retirees. How do I go about obtaining health cover?

Reply :

You are quite correct as the short term S1 health form for persons no yet in receipt of a UK state pension is not longer available as of 1st July 2014.

The good news is that you can now make an application to join the French healthcare scheme via CMU (couverture Maladie Universelle) once you have been a resident in France in a regular and stable manner after 3 months. You will have to provide various justifications and the application process could take many months to obtain a reply. In the meantime you should consider making enquiries to obtain a comprehensive first euro health policy in place if possible, as all medical expenses will be at your charge during this period, especially if you are taken ill suddenly.

For example one day in hospital for observation could cost approx €1000.


Looking for a COMPLEMENTARY Top Up plan ?
Contact us and we will send you the détails.
Looking for an EHIC Top Up plan for your next visit to France?
Contact us and we will send you the détails.