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Who can get a free health check in France and how do they work?

The government is to offer everyone a free check at age 25, 45 and 65 but a system is already in place out of these age landmarks

The examen de prévention en santé is an existing free French health check, but it is on a priority basis Pic: Milla F / Shutterstock

Reader Question: What are the details concerning having a free medical heath check in France?

In France, anyone who is part of the French healthcare system – and thus has a carte Vitale – is entitled to a free health check-up called an examen de prévention en santé

More specifically, you need to be affiliated with the general healthcare regime, which the vast majority of our readers living in France will be or the Mutualité sociale agricole (MSA). 

For those on so-called ‘special regimes’, such as people who work in the military, mines, the SNCF, RATP, EDF-GDF, parliament, etc. they should ask their specific medical insurance provider about their eligibility for a free check-up.

The check-up is open to everyone in the general healthcare system although priority is given to those who are over 16, have difficulties in accessing healthcare structures and are in a financially precarious situation. 

What does the examination consist of?

The check-up will take place in a special examination centre run by the sécurité sociale. This is not a place where you will receive treatment or any prescriptions, the examination is purely a health check-up. You will be sent your results afterwards and can request a copy be sent to your doctor. 

The check lasts around two-and-a-half hours and varies according to the person’s age, sex and potential risk factors. Some of this will be determined in advance based on a form you have to fill in – we cover more on this below. 

During the exam, you may have your blood taken, give urine samples, undergo a hearing test, a cardiorespiratory test etc. 

A final interview will allow you to take stock of your health and, if necessary, to plan additional examinations.

An appointment with a specialised social worker can also be scheduled in the case of difficulties in paying for future examinations or care.

How to get a free check-up

You may be invited for a free health check-up by the Assurance Maladie – more details on this below. 

You can also organise the check-up yourself. 

You can do this through Ameli via this link – make sure your postcode is correct, you can find this at the top right of the page. 

On this page you will find a form that you can fill out and send to your local Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie (CPAM). It will look a bit like the example below.  

Screenshot / Assurance maladie Ardèche

Your Cpam will then send you a registration form to fill in as well as an invitation to a local check-up centre with a date, time, location etc. 

You will also receive a medical questionnaire. It is important to fill this out precisely and send it back as this will be the basis of what tests you undergo at the check-up. 

If there is a lot of demand for a free check-up, a waiting list is established, with priority to certain groups, including those on low-income benefits, the unemployed, disabled people and young people starting work.

Free medical check-ups at age 25, 45 and 65

Free medical check-ups are to be routinely offered to people in France at the ages of 25, 45, and 65, the country’s health minister has announced. 

Read more: France to offer free medical check-ups at age 25, 45 and 65

François Braun said that these ages had been chosen as “three key ages of life”. 

The measure is intended to help “provide better follow-up” to those with certain health conditions and better monitoring of the general state of health of people throughout their lives.

The health minister did not say how these check-ups will be arranged but it is likely that people will receive a letter from Assurance Maladie inviting them to book an appointment when they hit the relevant age. 

The start date of the new scheme has yet to be announced. 

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France's free two-hour health check is open to all

Is it possible to pay for health screening on a private basis?

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Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
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