You can request health ‘MOT’ every five years

They say ‘prevention is better than cure’

The French health system can help by reimbursing a comprehensive health screening session.

Two to three-hour bilans de santé are available on request and are in addition to various standard checks your GP can do or prescribe for you.

A GP can carry out a series of health tests during a consultation, such as weight, blood pressure, regularity of heart beat etc and he or she may also prescribe a selection of typical blood tests at a local laboratoire d’analyses to check for risk of common health problems like diabetes, or to monitor existing problems you may have.

These would be reimbursed at the usual rates of 70% of the state tariff (€25) for a GP’s consultation or 60% of blood test costs (a top-up mutuelle will usually cover the rest).

However, if you want a fuller examination of your state of health to pick up on any potential problems you may ask Cpam for a complimentary bilan de santé once every five years.

Such checks are carried out in a centre d’examens run by the Assurance Maladie itself or another approved centre (centre agrée).

The bilan consists of blood and urine tests, sight, hearing and breathing capacity tests as well as a general check-up. The precise tests offered are likely to vary according to a medical questionnaire you are asked to fill in.

A final interview will be offered for an overview and, if necessary, to schedule more follow-up checks. A meeting with a specialist social worker can also be arranged if you have financial worries related to paying for healthcare.

You have the right to take away details of your tests, and a copy can be sent to your GP on your request. To request a bilan you should contact your Cpam, who will send you an application form, along with the medical questionnaire which you should take on the day of the tests. The Cpam will send you an appointment at a centre in your area.

Apart from general health screening, cancer screening tests may also be advisable on a regular basis depending on your age and also risk factors such as family history.

For more about the French health system see our Healthcare in France 2018 helpguide, priced £9.90 (plus p&p for printed versions), at the helpguide section of It is also available at selected French newsagents during January.