New way to check if your French top-up health insurance cost is fair

French consumer group launches comparator based on profile saying it should be easier for people to compare plans and save money

A doctor holding a piggy bank to show the cost of healthcare
Top-up health insurance can help to pay for healthcare costs not covered by the state
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People should be able to compare the cost of top-up health insurance in France easily, claims a leading consumer association as it releases a new comparison tool to help.

The average cost of top-up health insurance is set to rise by 8% in France this year, figures suggest.

Read more: Top-up health insurance firms confirm big price rises in France

What is top-up health insurance in France?

Anyone who pays into the French social security system and/or lives full-time in France can have their basic medical care paid, for the main part, by the state.

However, treatments often still carry an extra cost and people often opt to pay for a top-up insurance to help pay for the short-fall. French firms must offer such a policy to their workers.

As an example, a visit to the GP currently costs €25 upfront. The social security system reimburses 70% of this, which is €16.50 (after a €1 ‘franchise’ deduction). So, €8.50 remains payable by the patient. This can be paid for from their own pocket or via a mutuelle ‘top-up’ policy.

Top-ups can be either a mutuelle or a complementaire santé. A mutuelle is provided by a non-profit organisation and is a scheme run for its members, while a complementaire is a policy from a commercial insurance company.

However, the term mutuelle is widely used for all such policies, even when not technically correct.

Significant cost variation

After analysing 250 contracts, UFC-Que Choisir found that the cost of top-up policies can vary significantly, even for the same level of coverage. Prices can even double depending on the insured person’s age and/or location.

Careful comparison can pay dividends, it said.

It found that a 75-year-old retiree in Paris could - for a similar policy - pay between €70 and €141 per month, depending on the insurer and terms. Similarly, a 22-year-old student in Marseille could be quoted anywhere from €16 to €49 per month, depending on the policy and insurer.

Read more: Five tips to reduce cost of your top-up health insurance in France

The consumer association says insurance companies are not always transparent about their policies, nor have they made it easy for consumers to understand what they are paying for. It also criticised the quality of some insurance policies.

"We find that many policyholders are badly insured, meaning that they will have a contract that does not necessarily correspond to their needs,” said Grégory Caret, director of the UFC-Que Choisir. “Because you can find contracts that pay out very well, but which are prohibitive in cost.

“And then you can sometimes find very competitively-priced contracts, which may have slightly lower guarantees, but which are perfectly suited to your needs,” he told FranceInfo.

New comparison tool

In a bid to help, the group has released a comparison tool on its website.


The tool enables you to create your own ‘profile’, by selecting your details and health needs - for example, if you are a student, single parent, or retired; if you wear glasses; or if you spend a lot on your dental care.

You can then enter your postcode, and compare deals.

UFC-Que Choisir has no links, including financial links, with any of the companies cited and no companies have paid to appear in the results.

Read also

7 points to consider when choosing top-up health insurance in France
MAP: what to expect to pay in top-up health insurance across France