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Expat Exchange - Essential Guide to the Health System in France
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Chamonix, France


Essential Guide to the Health System in France

By Joshua Wood, LPC

French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

Summary: Gain insight into the health care system in France. Explore its accessibility and limitations for expatriates, remote workers, retirees, and others who choose to live in France.

France has a comprehensive healthcare system that provides universal coverage to its citizens and residents. The public healthcare system in France is known as the "Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie" (CPAM) and is funded by taxes and social security contributions. Foreigners (expats and digital nomads) are allowed to use the public healthcare system in France, however, they are not eligible for the same level of coverage as French citizens. People generally recommend using public hospitals for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, as they are well-equipped and staffed with experienced medical professionals. Public hospitals in France are typically clean and modern, and offer a wide range of services.

France's Private Healthcare System

France also has a private healthcare system, which is used by expats and digital nomads. Private healthcare is more expensive than public healthcare, but it offers more comprehensive coverage and shorter wait times. Private hospitals in France are typically well-equipped and staffed with experienced medical professionals. People generally recommend using private hospitals for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, as they offer a higher level of care. The most popular private health insurers in France are Mutuelle, Harmonie Mutuelle, and April Santé. Expats and digital nomads typically use these companies or specialized expat health insurance providers.

France's Top Hospitals

France has some of the best hospitals in the world. Here is a list of some of the most well-known hospitals in France:

  • Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou (public hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard (public hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital Cochin (public hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital Saint-Louis (public hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades (public hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital La Pitié-Salpêtrière (public hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital Ambroise Paré (private hospital in Boulogne-Billancourt)
  • Hôpital Américain de Paris (private hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine)
  • Hôpital Foch (private hospital in Suresnes)
  • Hôpital Saint-Joseph (private hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital Rothschild (private hospital in Paris)
  • Hôpital du Val-de-Grâce (public hospital in Paris, specializes in military medicine)

France has a comprehensive healthcare system that provides universal coverage to its citizens and residents. The public healthcare system in France is known as the "Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie" (CPAM) and is funded by taxes and social security contributions. Foreigners (expats and digital nomads) are allowed to use the public healthcare system in France, however, they are not eligible for the same level of coverage as French citizens. People generally recommend using public hospitals for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, as they are well-equipped and staffed with experienced medical professionals. Public hospitals in France are typically clean and modern, and offer a wide range of services.

Insider Tips from Expats in France: How to Navigate the Health System

"In France, medical services are generally of a high quality. The country has a comprehensive public health system, which provides free or low-cost healthcare to all citizens. The public system is supplemented by a range of private health insurance plans, which offer more comprehensive coverage. France also has a well-developed network of hospitals and clinics, staffed by highly trained medical professionals. In addition, France has a number of specialized medical centers, such as cancer treatment centers and research institutes," commented one member living in France.

"It's a small town, so most doctors don't use English much. If you must communicate in English, it would help to research some of the necessary terminology beforehand (perhaps write your questions in French)," commented one expat living in Epinal, France.

"Record keeping is your responsibility and you can't do it all online. Doctors don't keep a health file for you. Top-up supplemental insurance is needed to completely cover costs," mentioned one expat living in France.

"Healthcare services in France are provided by a public healthcare system, known as the French Social Security system. This system is funded by contributions from employers and employees, as well as by the government. The quality of public healthcare in France is generally considered to be very good, with access to a wide range of services, including preventive care, hospital care, and specialist care. Foreign residents in France are eligible to use the public healthcare system, although they may need to pay a fee for certain services. Expats in France can use the public healthcare system by registering with the French Social Security system and paying the required contributions," said an expat in France.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
French Riviera House Hunting - FRH

Chamonix, France

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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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French Riviera House Hunting - FRH
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