Reader question: I have heard that gluten-free foods are reimbursed in France. Is this correct? H.D.
It is possible to obtain a 60% reimbursement from Assurance Maladie for gluten-free diet foods if you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease.
Some mutuelle top-up policies will refund the remaining 40%.
This is a condition in which the body has an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in products such as wheat, barley and rye.
This has to be confirmed by a digestive tract biopsy test.
This illness is considered one of the affections de longue durée, conditions which have special reimbursement rules in France, but unusually does not qualify for 100% reimbursement.
The 60% reimbursement is also based on an official tariff for each approved diet food, which may be lower than the price in the shop.
The foods do not include unprocessed items such as rice or lentils that might form part of a gluten-free diet.
To obtain reimbursement, you need confirmation from your local state health insurance body (usually Cpam) that you have cover for the illness and a current doctor’s prescription for the foods. The latter are renewable every six months.
You can ask for reimbursement for several items per month but total reimbursement per month is limited to €45.73, or €33.54 for children under 10. People diagnosed with coeliac disease are sent forms by their Cpam that can be used to claim reimbursements. An example can be found here.
You need to buy products that have detachable vignette labels which specify the category of gluten-free product and its weight. Usually, where a product is reimbursable, its official tarif amount will also be noted on the vignette with wording such as tarif LPPR (this refers to an official list of reimbursable products).
You stick labels of products you purchased in a certain month on the refund form and send it to your Cpam with a copy of the prescription, till receipts, and a sworn attestation that you were the person who purchased them.
To simplify the process, you can now also ask for reimbursements for these foods directly via the ameli app for smartphones and tablets.
You should go into Paramètres (settings) and click to activate the service called Mes prises en charge de la maladie coeliaque.
Then, under Mes Démarches, you can click Prise en charge de la maladie coeliaque. You can then scan a barcode from the label on a product and insert the price paid in the shop.
You should obtain a message confirming that the purchases have been taken account of at the end of the process.
You are then supposed to keep the barcode for the product and the till receipt for at least two years in case of checks.