New laws and changes in France: January 2021

It is now easier to change to a different mutuelle policy, gas prices have increased and 5G is available in 160 French cities

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Live in France or own a second home here? Here are the new laws and changes that could impact you.

1. You can now swap a mutuelle health insurance policy more easily

It is now possible to cancel a top-up health insurance contract at any time, as long as you have been subscribed to it for 12 months. Previously, these could only be cancelled in a short window between receiving an annual renewal letter and the yearly renewal date, often January 1.

To cancel, send a letter to your insurer informing them of your decision and contract details. The cancellation will be effective a month after it is received. If you have found a new insurer, they can cancel the old contract for you.

Industry body la Mutu­alité Française predicts rises in premiums of 1.5-2.5% on average this year, linked to new costs for insurers such as the 100% Santé cover for glasses or dental prosthetics.

2. Drive an electric scooter? You can use bus lanes

Electric scooters, or ones running on hydrogen fuel or compressed air, are now permitted to use road lanes normally reserved for buses and taxis. This already applied to electric cars and vans. The scooters should show the appropriate Crit’Air sticker, displaying their low emission level.

3. ‘Inclusive’ masks now available to those working in childcare

Some 500,000 transparent Covid-19 masks have been distributed for staff in creches and maisons d’assistants maternels childcare centres. There will be three for each professional.

Known as masques inclusifs, they are said to be better for small children whose healthy development requires them to see people’s emotions in their facial expressions.

Read the latest updates on the coronavirus situation in France

4. Gas prices in France have increased

Gas prices have risen, representing an increase of 0.6% for people who use gas for cooking, 1.4% for cooking and hot water, and 2.5% for heating.

5. 5G is now available in French cities

160 cities are now eligible for 5G mobile phone technology. Offers are available from SFR and Orange for this ultra-fast internet, with the other operators in the starting blocks. Some 15,000 places are now authorised for the siting of 5G antennas.

Related: French study finds 5G increases risk to climate

6. Winter sales delayed to January 20

The winter sales are fixed to start on January 20, 2021, having been put off from January 6, the usual legal start date. There were calls from firms to put them off as they could not sell any stock (at normal prices) during the lockdown. Gyms and restaurants are expected to reopen – but not bars or nightclubs.


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