Can I enter French healthcare system with long-term illness?

There are no limitations linked to long-term conditions for entry to the French healthcare system

Published Last updated

Reader question: My husband and I are British, moved to France in September and plan to apply for residency. We are early retirees and I have a long-term illness and currently obtain medication on the NHS. Am I eligible for health cover in France?

Yes, there are no limitations linked to long-term illnesses for entry to the French healthcare system and anyone living in the country as their main residence is able to enter this.

Your priority must be to apply as soon as possible.

To get healthcare cover in the French system you need to show you have been in France for at least three months, for example with utility bills (EDF, Engie, etc), a rent contract or rental receipts – which you should be able to do.

You may have been relying on British Ehics so far, and these are still valid under the Brexit future relationship deal.

However, they are intended for visitors rather than residents and are not expected to be acceptable for a residency card application.

In the state system, if you are not a worker or a UK state pensioner (whose healthcare the UK pays for) you may need to pay an annual healthcare fee at a percentage of income over a certain level, depending on how much you have coming in.

Those on modest incomes do not pay.

You need to contact your local Cpam (Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie) about entering the system and fill out form Cerfa n° 15763*02.

This refers to non-EU citizens having to provide a copy of their visa or residency card.

Britons who were living in France last year have no obligation to do this to live legally in France (until October 1, 2021) so you may have to explain this in an accompanying note.

You also need to include a copy of your passport.

Once you have an attestation de droits from the Cpam showing you are in the system, you can also use this to apply for a Brexit residency card.

It is a good idea to choose a local généraliste doctor who will be your médecin traitant (GP), as reimbursements for French healthcare are lower without one.

You may also be interested to know that certain long-term conditions, called affectations de longue-durée, qualify for an especially high level of cover under the system.

Related stories

Brexit deal allows ending of pension, healthcare protection