If you live in the right area, you might be able to save on top-up health insurance by taking out a policy called a mutuelle communale.
A group policy for the town
Sometimes known as a mutuelle de village, this is a commune-wide group subscription to a complementary health insurance policy.
The idea is that if a large number of people in one village or town take out a group policy, it can simplify processes and save costs.
The scheme was first introduced in 2013.
Aimed at people who are not employed
Every resident in France is entitled to be in the French healthcare system but most also have a ‘top-up’, commonly referred to as mutuelles, to cover parts of costs that are not state-reimbursed.
Read more: French 'top-up' health insurance explained
Mutuelles communales are aimed at people who do not, for example, benefit from a policy via their employer, which French firms are obliged to offer.
Pros and cons
It is estimated that around 20,000 people in France benefit from a mutuelle communale and that 2,000 communes offer one.
Where they exist, there are no limits in terms of age, income or medical history.
Some councils offer a standardised policy at a set rate, while others offer a variety to suit different people – for example, students, jobseekers, professionals or retirees.
Standardised policies can be disadvantageous for certain people if they have specific needs or incomes.
However, the scheme has many advantages.
It is estimated that mutuelles communales can offer savings of up to 60% compared to regular mutuelles.
Additionally, your commune, sometimes via a partner association, can help you to set up the top-up insurance policy and guide you through any practical questions you might have.
They can also help to negotiate the best deal for you and offer advice.
To find out if your commune offers a mutuelle communale, contact your local mairie, or in larger communes the section called centre communal d’action sociale (CCAS).