Top-ups, eye tests, online: Eight healthcare changes in France in 2022

Several changes in healthcare are already announced for 2022. We summarise eight key points

31 December 2021

Several changes in healthcare are already announced for 2022 Pic: Phovoir / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

1. A new online health space

All residents affiliated to France’s state healthcare system now have access to a new online health space containing a calendar of medical appointments, storage of medical documents and a messaging system.

This is the latest revamp of a digital medical records system after other opt-in systems did not have widespread take-up. 

In this case, you will have to request not to take part, if you so wish. 

Read more: France plans to put more admin online but is it positive step for all?

2. Free contraceptive methods for under 25s

Full coverage of contraceptive costs was made available from January 1 for all women up to age 25. 

Previously, this was only the case for minors. This covers one medical consultation per year, as well as the relevant pills, devices and tests. 

Read more: France makes contraception pills and IUDs free for under 25s

3. Top-up insurance to be automatically renewed

Certain people will now automatically be attributed the complémentaire santé solidaire (CSS) – free or subsidised ‘top-up’ healthcare – as it was found that too few people were taking it up. 

This will apply to those who have the RSA income support benefit. 

Access will also be ‘facilitated’ for pensioners on the Aspa pension top-up, who will automatically be sent documents allowing them to sign up. 

Read more: French 'top-up' health insurance explained

Read more: Can foreign residents claim France’s pension top-up benefit?

4. Quality improvements for school canteens

Healthier and more responsibly-produced food is promised in collective catering facilities such as school canteens. 

At least half of products used now have to be from ‘sustainable’ agriculture or from brands with a ‘origin and quality’ label, including organic products. 

5. Up to eight ‘free’ consultations a year with a psychologist

Consultations with a psychologist are now reimbursed for those in the health system (up to eight a year). 

The patient needs to have been referred by their GP. 

Read more: Mental health appointments to be made more affordable in France

6. Orthoptists to perform eye tests 

Orthoptists can now carry out eye tests for those with mild eyesight problems and prescribe glasses and contact lenses. 

This is aimed at helping resolve the issue of difficult access to ophthalmologists in many areas of France. 

Read more: Glasses prescriptions to be given without ophthalmologist in France

7. Remote care to be generalised

Telesurveillance – where health professionals monitor a patient’s health at a distance using technology – is set to become more standardised this year. 

Previously subject to various trials, it is now to be extended to all health conditions considered to benefit from it, and set rates for reimbursement will be fixed for professionals making use of it.

8. French hospitals to offer cheaper A&E services

Hospitals in France are to charge a fixed-rate sum of €19.61 from January 1 for patients who go to the accident and emergency ward (urgences) but are not then admitted to hospital. 

The charge up to now was €25.28 for A&E treatment without hospitalisation, plus extra itemised fees for specific services received.

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