More French mayors negotiate top-up health cover for residents

If your mutuelle health insurance is becoming unaffordable there may be ways to reduce the cost

‘Communal mutuelles’ are initiated by the ‘conseil municipal’ and usually followed by a survey of residents to gauge interest

A growing number of mairies are offering residents a mutuelle communale – a grouped offer for top-up health insurance that is usually cheaper than a standard individual policy.

Such policies are likely to appeal to retirees, self-employed workers, students and jobseekers, as opposed to salaried workers who are offered a subsidised mutuelle through employers.

However, the lowest-income retirees would likely still get a better deal by taking up the state’s complémentaire santé solidaire, which offers a mutuelle either for free or for a fixed amount up to a maximum (for over-70s) of €30/month.

Read more: Claiming free or cheaper top-up French health insurance to get easier

Health conditions should not affect price of a mutuelle

Mutuelle fees have risen sharply in the past year, as insurers look to recoup the extra costs they face for glasses, dental prosthetics and hearing aids under the ‘100% Santé’ scheme.

The cost rises with age (health conditions should not be taken into account) – the average price for an ordinary mutuelle for a 70-year-old couple with a good level of cover was estimated at around €340/month in a recent study by price comparison website Meilleurtaux Assurances.

In 2024 contracts are predicted to rise, on average, by around 8%, with retirees often facing the largest hikes.

If yours is becoming too costly, you may cancel at any time as long as you have held it for at least a year.

Do this preferably by registered post with reception slip. It will end one month after you make the request.

Read more: Are more people dropping top-up health cover in France as prices rise?

Commune can survey residents and negotiate a deal

Communal mutuelles are initiated by the conseil municipal and usually followed by a survey of residents to gauge interest – the more potential users, the better the deal they are likely to obtain.

The commune then negotiates an offer, balancing good coverage and cost.

In some cases they work with a specialist association called Mut’Com, which negotiates a deal on behalf of all the mairies that join it.

Mayor concerned that residents lacked cover or paid too much

The mairie of Saint-Laurent-du-Var in Alpes-Maritimes is among those to have recently set up a deal via Mut’Com.

In a statement, the mairie said: “Faced with difficulties, whether temporary or long-term, some people have unfortunately been taking the decision to do without a mutuelle. Others are paying far too much for health cover adapted to their needs.

“As a result, the mayor wants to offer local people an alternative.”

The first-ever communal mutuelle is believed to be at Caumont-sur-Durance in Vaucluse in 2013.

It is estimated there are now around 2,000 to 3,000 communes concerned.

To see if your commune offers one, check its website or speak to the mairie.

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