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Explainer: Why having a designated GP in France saves you money

We also outline how you can change GP if you so wish

It is beneficial to have a designated GP in France Pic: Phovoir / Shutterstock

If you do not declare a designated GP (médecin traitant) then your French health insurance will cover less of the cost of a medical consultation, meaning you will have to pay slightly more. 

In France you are free to see any GP, which you can find through various sources, outlined in our article here: How can I find an English-speaking GP near me in France?

But if that doctor is not your designated GP, then your consultation is considered to be ‘outside the coordinated healthcare pathway’ (dehors du parcours de soins coordonnés). 

You can sign up to have a designated GP from the age of 16. 

How do I declare a GP?

You are free to choose any GP or any other medical specialist you wish to be your designated doctor (as long as they accept). This is only for people who are residents in France as you must be in the healthcare system. 

The GP you choose can be one whose practice is close to where you live, where you work or where you go to university. 

The easiest way to choose a GP is during a consultation. Simply ask the doctor if they are willing to accept you as a patient. Some doctors decline due to having too many patients but they should be able to help you find another.

If they accept, they can contact your caisse d'Assurance Maladie to inform them that they are now your designated GP. 

If your GP cannot, for whatever reason, inform the caisse on your behalf, then you can bring them a form that must be filled out by yourself and your chosen GP. 

You can find the form at this link.

Scroll down until you see this box, pictured below.

Credit: Ameli.fr

Click the link and input your postcode. It will then provide you with the necessary form for your area and instructions of where to send it. 

Can I change my designated GP?

You can change your designated GP and do not need to justify your choice to the GP you are leaving. They have a legal obligation to transfer your medical records to your new designated GP. 

Difference in fees with or without designated GP

In the following example, you go to see a GP who is not your designated doctor. 

The doctor is a secteur 1 GP, meaning they apply standard rates. Note, you can also designate a secteur 2 GP as your designated doctor. 

Your consultation costs €25, as per standard rates. French public healthcare, the Assurance maladie, covers 30% of that cost, which is €7.50. 

If you have a top-up insurance policy, commonly referred to as mutuelles, then it will usually cover another 30%, or €7.50. 

You then have to pay a €1 fee called a participation forfaitaire. It means that reimbursements will cover a total of €15, minus the €1 that you must pay, leaving you with a total bill of €11 to settle yourself. 

If you go for a consultation, under the same conditions, to a doctor who is your designated GP, then the Assurance maladie will cover 70% of the cost and your mutuelle will cover the remaining 30%, leaving you with just the €1 participation forfaitaire to pay. 

Exceptions

You are not considered to be dehors du parcours de soins coordonnés if:

  • You have a consultation with a GP who is replacing your usual doctor because they are unavailable 

  • You consult another GP because you are from from your usual doctor and it is an emergency

  • You consult another specialist at the request of your GP or midwife

  • You consult a specialist as you have a long-term illness (affection de longue durée)

  • You can consult the following specialists without going to your GP first: A gynaecologist, an ophthalmologist, a psychiatrist, a dental specialist (un stomatologue)

In these cases, you can see a doctor other than your designated GP and still benefit from the usual rates applied to designated GPs. 

Related articles

Explainer: How French residents can access healthcare in UK on trips

Eight facts to understand France’s issue of ‘medical deserts’

Why your health reimbursements in France may not be arriving

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