Early-retiree CMU hopes

The European Commission is waiting for France to confirm it will give healthcare rights to all permanent residents

23 April 2013

EARLY retiree expats - banned from the French healthcare system in 2007 - look set to be accepted back in after the EU said it was waiting on France to confirm “habitual residency” would be the only criterion used for access.

This would mean newcomers who are below state retirement age and not working would have access to state healthcare reimbursement as they did before 2007 when they were banned until they have lived in France for five years.

Furthermore, the commission says, France has proposed setting up one central processing point to deal with all applications by EU early-retirees “to achieve a consistent admissions policy”.

A commission spokesman on health said this comes after “active discussions” with France over the last year.

This follows, in 2011, the commission registering France as being potentially in infringement of EU free movement rules because of its policy of limiting access to CMU, which is the mechanism whereby people who have not worked in France and are not yet EU state pensioners may join the healthcare reimbursements system. Since 2007, most early-retirees have been expected to take out private healthcare policies once temporary cover under European S1 forms runs out.

The spokesman clarified however that the infringement registration was done “internally” and a “formal” infringement procedure against France was never opened, the commission instead waiting to see if its concerns could first be resolved.

Under the proposed centralised admissions system the spokesman said “applications would still be made to the local Cpam but would then be forwarded to the central point for processing. The commission is still waiting for confirmation by the French authorities of the exact date when this will be put in place.”

EU law says that before non-working EU citizens become eligible for social security benefits they have to pass a strict “habitual residence test” proving that they have a genuine link with their host country

The definition of habitual residence is defined as the place where the habitual centre of interests of the person is located.

The full criteria EU member states should apply include the duration and continuity of the person’s presence in the member state concerned; the nature of any activity pursued, including its stability or whether it is habitually pursued and the duration of any work contract, the exercise of any non-remunerated activity; the person’s family status and family ties; in the case of students, the source of their income; the person’s housing situation and its permanence; and in which country the person pays tax.

For more on the problems surrounding CMU access, see the May edition of Connexion, on sale across France from this Friday April 26. Find your nearest stockist at findthepressinfrance.com

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