The French healthcare system


French healthcare

If you’re a UK expat considering a move to France, one of the key factors to consider is the quality of healthcare available in your new home. Fortunately, the French healthcare system is renowned for its efficiency and comprehensive coverage, making it an excellent choice for those seeking top-notch medical care.

Relocating to France means gaining access to a healthcare system that prioritizes patient well-being and offers a range of benefits. From easy accessibility to high-quality care, the French healthcare system is designed to meet the needs of both residents and expats alike.

Whether you’re moving for work, retirement, or simply a change of scenery, the French healthcare system ensures that your health and well-being are well taken care of. With a mix of public and private healthcare options, you can rest assured that you’ll have access to the medical services you need.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the French healthcare system, from understanding how it works to the key features that make it highly regarded. We’ll also delve into the accessibility of healthcare services for expats, prescription medications and healthcare costs, and important considerations before making the move to France.

So, if you’re considering relocating to France and want to understand more about the French healthcare system and the quality care it offers, keep reading to discover why it could be the right choice for you.

Understanding the French healthcare system

When considering a move to France, it is essential to understand the workings of the French healthcare system. The French healthcare system is renowned for its efficiency and high-quality care, making it an attractive option for UK expats.

The French healthcare system is primarily funded through the public health insurance scheme, called Assurance Maladie. This scheme provides coverage for a wide range of medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications. However, it is important to note that the Assurance Maladie typically only covers a percentage of the healthcare costs, leaving a portion to be paid by the individual.

Complementary private health insurance is highly recommended to cover the remaining costs not covered by the Assurance Maladie. This complementary insurance, known as “mutuelle,” ensures that individuals have comprehensive coverage and helps to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. It provides additional benefits, such as coverage for dental care, vision care, and alternative therapies.

Understanding the French healthcare system is crucial for UK expats relocating to France to ensure they can access the care they need. It is advisable to familiarize oneself with the different aspects of the system, such as the role of public health insurance and the importance of private health insurance. By having a comprehensive understanding, individuals can navigate the French healthcare system with ease and peace of mind.

Access to healthcare in France

When considering relocating to France, one of the important aspects to consider is the accessibility of healthcare services. Fortunately, the French healthcare system is renowned for its high quality care and comprehensive coverage. UK expats can rest assured that they will have access to top-notch medical facilities and treatment options.

Entitlement to healthcare services in France is available to all residents, including expatriates. In order to access healthcare, it is necessary to register with the French healthcare system. This process involves obtaining a social security number and choosing a primary care physician, known as a médecin traitant. Once registered, you will have access to a wide range of healthcare services, including visits to specialists, hospital care, and preventive screenings.

One of the advantages for UK expats is the availability of English-speaking doctors and medical facilities. While many healthcare professionals in France speak English, it is recommended to learn some basic French phrases to communicate effectively with healthcare providers. This will ensure a smoother healthcare experience and enable better understanding of diagnosis and treatment plans.

The French healthcare system also emphasizes the ease of accessing quality care. There is a wide network of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, spread throughout the country. This ensures that individuals living in both urban and rural areas have access to the necessary medical services. In case of emergencies, the French emergency number, 112, can be dialed to request immediate medical assistance.

Overall, relocating to France means gaining access to a healthcare system that prioritizes quality care and ensures comprehensive coverage. The combination of state-of-the-art medical facilities, English-speaking healthcare professionals, and a focus on preventive care makes the French healthcare system highly attractive for UK expats seeking top-notch healthcare services.

Key features of the French healthcare system

When it comes to healthcare, the French healthcare system is highly regarded for its key features that ensure quality care for both locals and expats. Here are some of the standout aspects:

Comprehensive Coverage

The French healthcare system provides comprehensive coverage, ensuring that individuals have access to a wide range of medical services. Whether it’s preventive care, general medicine, specialized treatments, or emergencies, the system strives to meet the healthcare needs of all residents.

Low Out-of-Pocket Costs

Another remarkable feature of the French healthcare system is its low out-of-pocket costs. With a generous reimbursement system, patients typically pay only a fraction of the total healthcare costs. This helps alleviate financial burdens and ensures that individuals can receive the care they need without worrying about exorbitant expenses.

Advanced Medical Technology and Expertise

French hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology and boast a high level of expertise. From cutting-edge diagnostic tools to innovative treatment options, the French healthcare system prioritizes advancements in medical science. This commitment to innovation ensures that patients receive top-quality care and benefit from the latest advancements in the field.

Focus on Preventive Care

Prevention plays a crucial role in the French healthcare system. The emphasis on preventive care helps individuals maintain their health and detect potential issues at an early stage. Regular check-ups, screenings, and health education programs are all a part of this proactive approach, promoting overall well-being and reducing the need for more intensive and costly treatments.

Emphasis on Patient-Centered Care

The French healthcare system places a strong emphasis on patient-centered care. This means that healthcare professionals prioritize the needs and preferences of patients, ensuring that their voices are heard and respected throughout the care process. This patient-centric approach fosters more meaningful doctor-patient relationships and leads to tailored treatment plans that align with individual needs and values.

To add further context, let’s take a moment to visualize the French healthcare system in action:

As you can see, the French healthcare system is built on a solid foundation of comprehensive coverage, affordability, advanced technology, preventive care, and patient-centeredness. These key features make it an attractive option for those considering relocating to France and seeking quality healthcare.

Prescription medications and healthcare costs in France

When it comes to the French healthcare system, understanding how prescription medications work and what healthcare costs to expect is crucial for UK expats considering relocating to France.

Affordability and Reimbursement of Prescription Drugs

The French healthcare system ensures that prescription medications are available at affordable prices. The government regulates drug costs, making them significantly lower compared to some other countries. Additionally, the Assurance Maladie, the public health insurance scheme in France, provides reimbursement for a significant portion of prescription drug expenses. This reimbursement system helps alleviate the financial burden on patients.

The Cost of Healthcare Services

Healthcare services in France are known for their quality and accessibility. The cost of these services generally tends to be reasonable when compared to other countries with similar healthcare standards. Patients can expect high-quality care without exorbitant expenses. However, it is important to note that certain specialized treatments or procedures may have additional costs. It is advisable for individuals to have comprehensive private health insurance coverage to ensure adequate financial protection.

Importance of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Private Health Insurance

UK expats relocating to France should be aware of the importance of carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or private health insurance coverage. The EHIC allows access to necessary healthcare services at the same cost and conditions as the local population. However, it is important to note that the EHIC may not cover the full cost of medical treatments or repatriation expenses. Therefore, it is recommended to have private health insurance coverage that offers additional benefits and coverage for any potential gaps.

Understanding the affordability of prescription medications and healthcare costs in France is essential for UK expats seeking quality care. By being prepared and having the right insurance coverage, individuals can make their transition to the French healthcare system smoother and enjoy the benefits of the high-standard healthcare services it offers.

What to consider before relocating to France

Relocating to France for healthcare purposes is an exciting prospect, but it’s essential to consider several factors before making the move. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  1. Proper paperwork: Before relocating, ensure you have all the necessary paperwork in order. This includes obtaining the necessary visas and permits, as well as registering with the relevant authorities. It’s important to have your documents up to date and readily available, as they will be required when accessing healthcare services in France.
  2. Understanding the healthcare system: Familiarize yourself with the French healthcare system to make the transition smoother. Learn about the different tiers of healthcare coverage, the role of public and private insurance, and the registration process. Understanding how the system works will help you navigate it more effectively and make informed decisions about your healthcare needs.
  3. Choosing the right health insurance provider: While France has a robust healthcare system, having private health insurance can provide additional coverage and peace of mind. Research and compare different health insurance providers to find one that meets your specific needs. Look for plans that offer comprehensive coverage, including medical consultations, hospital stays, and prescription medications.
  4. Learning about cultural differences: Cultural differences can play a significant role in healthcare practices. Take the time to learn about the local customs and etiquette surrounding healthcare in France. Understanding cultural nuances will help you communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and ensure a positive healthcare experience.

Considering these factors will help you make a smooth transition and ensure you have the necessary information and resources to access quality healthcare in France.


Considering a move to France for healthcare purposes can provide UK expats with access to a high-quality healthcare system that prioritizes comprehensive care and accessibility. The French healthcare system offers a range of benefits, including top-notch medical facilities, advanced technology, and a focus on preventive care. Expats can expect quality care and peace of mind when it comes to their healthcare needs.

However, it is essential to thoroughly research and prepare before making any decisions about relocating to France. Understanding the structure of the French healthcare system, including the role of public and private insurance, is crucial. Additionally, it is essential to consider paperwork requirements and the different cultural practices in healthcare.

Before embarking on the journey of relocating to France, it is advisable to explore various health insurance providers that offer comprehensive coverage. Having the right insurance in place ensures that UK expats can fully benefit from the French healthcare system and enjoy quality care without any financial burden. By being well-prepared and informed, the transition to the French healthcare system can be smooth and rewarding.

Final thoughts about France

Thank you for reading this article. You can continue to explore our articles about France in our Blog or access some other articles about French Education and Housing, how to start a Business and Statistics, Finance and Travel Business. If you need services related to company formations, nominee services, banking or payment processing services, please get in touch, and we will introduce you to our trusted partners.

Useful resources for France

  • – Ministry of the Economy website with information to support businesses
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) – includes guidelines for opening a business as a foreigner in France and setting up a foreign company in France
  • La French Tech – Official website of the start-up scene in France
  • Formalités Entreprises – a one-stop shop for creating, modifying, and closing a business in France
  • Institut national de la propriété industrielle (INPI) – online guide to creating your company name, brand, logo, and protecting your intellectual property
  • – Chamber of Commerce and Industry platform with listings of business grants, loans, business support structures, and a calendar of related events and contacts

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