Ten million people in France have benefitted from free dental work, glasses or hearing aids since 2019, thanks to the scheme 100% Santé, the government has announced.
The measure allows people in the French health system with mutuelle top-up insurance to receive for free a limited range of dental prostheses (implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, etc.), hearing aids and prescription glasses.
The health reform 100% Santé “has surpassed all expectations for access to prostheses and hearing aids”, France’s Health Ministry stated on Tuesday (January 25), following a report by a committee set up to assess the scheme.
In the first 11 months of 2021, 55% patients receiving prostheses got them for free, with 20% more getting them for a reduced rate, Les Echos reports.
Meanwhile, 39% of people received hearing aids for free under the scheme in the same timeframe.
However, the health ministry admitted that progress with prescription glasses was “slower”, with only 17% of sales in 2021 covered by the scheme.
The ministry has said that sanctions will soon be handed down to opticians who were not making the free products obviously presentable to customers.
Health Minister Olivier Véran lauded the measure, which was an election promise by President Emmanuel Macron before he was voted into power in 2017.
“It is a reform that has met its objectives, a reform of purchasing power, access to care, prevention, the fight against loss of autonomy,” Mr Véran said yesterday.
He said that the products that are offered and the price limits set under the scheme would be reviewed for the first time this year, most likely in the summer.
The scheme has gone over budget, the Health Ministry admitted, so far costing more than the planned €1billion. It has put this down to the “effect of people catching up on care” and expects the costs to be more moderate going forward.
Who can benefit from 100% Santé?
Anyone who is in the French healthcare system and has a certain type of top-up insurance policy (mutuelle).
The mutuelle must be considered a “responsible complimentary insurance policy” or a complémentaire santé solidaire (C2S). Around 95% of policies on the market fall into one of these categories – you should check with your insurer to know if your one does.
Read more about it on France’s insurance service website Ameli here.
To benefit from the 100% Santé scheme, you can inquire with your GP or at your dentist or opticien.
What products are offered under 100% Santé?
There should be a wide selection of hearing aids available (in-the-ear, behind-the-ear) with a minimum of 12 channels of adjustment or equivalent quality and numerous features (anti-tinnitus, wind noise reducer, feedback suppressor, Bluetooth,etc.)
In the range available at no cost, lenses should cover all general sight problems and be slim, anti-glare and anti-scratch.
There must be 17 adult frames on offer, with a choice of two colours for each, and 10 different frames for children, also with a choice of two colours. Frames, which must respect European standards, will cost a maximum €30.
For dental work you have three different choices, but this will not include treatment from the orthodontist, so braces that many teenagers are advised to wear will not be included.
Total cover under the 100% Santé scheme will be available for crowns, bridges and inlays, and ceramic rather than metal crowns will be on offer for visible front teeth.
The second choice includes items where the client contributes but prices are controlled so as not to be excessive.
The third allows clients to choose whatever appliance they wish at their own cost, which might include new methods not included in the 100% offer.