Reader question: What happens if you are in the French health system by residency, under Puma, and you reach state retirement age and get an S1 from the UK?
Once you have reached state retirement age and obtained the S1 from the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services, you can register it with your local caisse primaire d’assurance maladie (keep a copy).
As you are already in the system, the changeover should be simple. Your social security number will not change and your mutuelle should not be affected – because your state reimbursements will not change.
However, Rachel Thomas-Bonnet, of Perfide Albion, who helps Britons in France with paperwork, said that she has sometimes known the caisse to send out a new carte Vitale.
She said the changeover is usually “relatively simple” if you present a copy of your S1, passport, proof of address and, preferably, a recent attestation de droits which can help officials identify you in the system. If you have an account at ameli.fr, you can download an attestation from your personal space under Mes démarches. You can also obtain them from machines at Cpam offices or request one on 3636.
Ms Thomas-Bonnet said, in her experience, there should be no disruption to your rights, depending on the efficiency of the officials in your local office.
If you were to experience temporary issues with your carte Vitale, however, you can ask doctors and pharmacists for paper feuilles de soins to apply for reimbursements from Cpam afterwards if you have to pay upfront.
In future, you should request a British Ehic (European Health Insurance Card) to use for health cover when visiting other parts of the EU (though not the UK).
Once you are covered by the UK for your healthcare, you will be eligible for exemption from French social charges on foreign pension incomes. You may also be eligible to pay a reduced rate of social charges on property and investment incomes, though French officials have yet to confirm if this right remains after Brexit.