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Medical Insurance - additional questions

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TraciD
9/23/2016 17:16 EST

Hi Expat Exchange,

I am a new member to this exchange, so apologies in advance, if I am repeating an earlier question/topic.

We are Brits, currently living in Canada (British-Canadians); and we are currently looking in to the possibility of moving to France (for many reasons). We no longer want to live in Canada.

Medical insurance is obviously a must; I have been told that if you have a previously-noted medical ailment, this will not be covered by any medical insurance - this seems a bit strange to me - does anyone have any feedback, experiences, or, advice regarding this?

On another note, I have been told that if you have a home in the UK, then you don't have to pay medical insurance in France - this won't apply to us, unfortunately (and this may change for others, if indeed true, once, and if, Brexit becomes reality).

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :)

Traci

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RubyTooz
9/26/2016 05:38 EST

Hi Traci,

Every legal resident of France must have health insurance. As British citizens, you will not need to request a long-stay visa to live in France (as the UK is still part of the EU for now), so won't have to show health coverage for the visa. If you are coming to work in France, you will join the public health system through your employment. If you are coming to retire, you will be able to request to join the system after three months of regular and stable residency. The French public health scheme is not free - you will have to pay contributions (premiums) just like every employee in the system does, whether via deductions from your paycheck or via a quarterly bill if you are inactive. What is important to you is that there are no age limits or exemptions for pre-existing conditions in the French public health system. Only private insurers refuse pre-existing ailments.

I don't think the information you received is correct about property in the UK exempting you from contributions for French public health insurance. The only way your EU citizenship covers your health costs is if: you've paid enough into the system (NHS in your case), and you've either reached state retirement age, started receiving a state pension, or are working on secondment in France.

Hope this helps,
Dennelle
www.renestance.com

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OldPro
9/26/2016 11:09 EST

It is always best to stick to ONE set of questions at a time. In this case, what applies to you as a Canadian citizen and then separately, what applies to a UK citizen.

Re pre-existing conditions, that applies when you need to have coverage during the time period between your Canadian provincial coverage and the start of your French state coverage. There's a gap in coverage which you can ONLY cover with private insurance. You may find it strange that pre-existing conditions may not be covered by private insurance, I would find it strange if they were.

A UK citizen who is resident (don't have to own property) in the UK and then decides to move to France comes under the EU laws and as such would have coverage continue seamlessly. But that is NOT your situation. You are not presently covered by the NHS. You could presumably go through a process of getting NHS coverage by staying in the UK and then moving to France. You would be covered IMMEDIATELY though if you moved to the UK first and so could avoid the gap in coverage and the need for private coverage. But that may not be a very practical solution.

So I would suggest that the SIMPLEST long term solution is to accept that you need private coverage between ending your provincial coverage in Canada and starting French state coverage after you have been resident long enough to apply.

That brings you back to how do you get private coverage for the pre-existing condition. It MAY be possible depending on what the pre-existing condition is and it may not. You also need to be looking for expat insurance, not travel insurance, they are not one and the same thing.
https://www.cignaglobal.com/difference-between-travel-international-health-insurance

I also think you need to give serious thought to what impact Brexit may have on your status in France if you are moving there as an EU national without a visa based on your UK citizenship. Depending on how long you have been resident in France when the actual exit date of the UK from the EU occurs, it could effect your status in France. No one can tell you what the effect will be. If you enter France as a Canadian on a visa and then apply for Residency as a non-EU national and are granted it, Brexit will have NO effect on your status.

You should contact some expat insurers regarding the pre-existing condition and see what they say re coverage. Basically, if there is likely to be major costs associated with the condition during the period of coverage, it may be hard to get insurance and you may need to consider having to pay for any treatment required. If the pre-existing condition while being chronic is not likely to need treatment, you may get coverage or it may not be covered but if no treatment is likely to be needed, you may be comfortable with taking that chance of having to pay for treatment yourself.

For example, if you have chronic bronchitis. It might not be covered but it also isn't likely to need any treatment in the near future. If you use an inhaler, well the cost isn't going to break the bank if you have to pay for it yourself.

On the other hand, if someone is on kidney dialysis twice a week, the cost is significant, coverage by private insurance unlikely to be found and so it could be a major factor in being able to afford to make the move.

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frabound
9/26/2016 13:03 EST

I am following with interest and just learned something completely new re the quarterly payments into the system, so thank you! How much is the payment, or how is it calculated (single retiree)? Thank you again.

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TraciD
10/13/2016 11:15 EST

Hi Dennelle,

Thank you so very much for your post, and all of the fabulous information.

We have tried to contact your website for further information, but notice that we need a Username and Password to gain access.

I have printed off the information, for future reference.

Is there any chance that you might be able to PM me with a username and password, so that we can possibly use your services closer to the time, of our move, for insurance and information in the future? Thank you. If not, no worries.

We are visiting France in May for a stay and to travel around; a fact-finding trip.

Thank you again Dennelle :)

Warm regards,

Traci

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TraciD
10/13/2016 11:27 EST

Hi Old Pro,

Thank you for all of the great information that you provided.

There's so much to respond to, that, I am just going to say, that I agree with some of what you say, and you have given me lots to think about, so, thank you.

Yes, we could come and live in the UK again, prior to moving to France, and it's something that we are going to think about (we still have family in the UK); but, it's more likely that we will possibly move straight to France (once Brexit is all sorted-out, and, hopefully been placed in the garbage!) and we will have to buy the private insurance; it makes sense (albeit I am worried about a pre-existing health condition).

There is a lot to think about, and a lot to look in to. We have two to three years yet.

It was not easy moving to Canada from the UK, and I think that it will be even more difficult planning and moving to France - but hey, it makes life interesting!

Thanks again for your informative and interesting response.

Warm regards,

Traci

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expat health insurance from CIGNA

Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. With Cigna Global Health Options, you can create an international health insurance plan that's perfectly tailored for the needs of you and your family.

Learn More Get a Quote

RubyTooz
10/27/2016 12:17 EST

Hi TraciD,
Apologies about the website! It was down for a few days while we were abroad and couldn't fix it...you should have no problem now.
Feel free to send me a direct email if you like dennelle@renestance.com

Best regards,
Dennelle
www.renestance.com

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