The Healthcare System in France

The French bureaucracy is absolute nightmare, but ones you get the hang of it you will have no issues using it.

If you are reading this I presume you are thinking of moving, already moved to France or just looking for some information. Do not get discouraged when you read the below. as the process can seems difficult but it is not, it only takes some time.

Foreigners who are living and working in France must register into the French social security in exchange for certain healthcare benefits..

A few helpful things to know before beginning this process:

  • Sécurité Sociale is the French healthcare system and your numero de sécurité sociale is your ID number only for the healthcare system. You’ll use this at the doctor’s office, dentist, when going to the pharmacy and for other health-related expenses.
  • Carte Vitale is the physical card that you use to identify yourself for healthcare. It has your photo and the social number on it as well.
  • This whole process unfortunately is in French, so if your language skills aren’t very good, you’ll need someone to help you .
  • is the website portal for the French health insurance program.
  • CPAM stands for Caisse Primaire d’Assurances Maladie, and is the local department of the national health insurance administration, which depends on the place of your residence also.
  • Unless you are already working in France, you’ll need to live here for three months to establish residency before you apply.
  • You will need a French bank account open under your name.
  • If you already have a job, your company HR department can also help you with this process.

EU/EEA citizens are usually covered in France by their home country’s systems. If you’re going to be resident in France, you should register in the social security system.

Non-EU/EEA citizens must have a residency permit to be eligible for social security coverage in France.


How To Register For Social security

When you start working in France, your new employer will register you automatically with the URSSAF ( Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations

This institution manages both social security schemes and unemployment insurance. The employer will also register you for pension contributions.Contributions to the social security scheme are based on your earnings through automatic deductions from salary. They are split between contributions from you and your employer.

Most employees are covered for sickness, maternity, paternity and family benefits under the compulsory general scheme. This is financed mainly by contributions and taxes deducted from earnings, shared between employees and employers.

If you’re working in France, your employer will usually complete the necessary formalities to ensure that you’re covered by social security.  If he doesn’t, you must obtain confirmation that you’re employed in France (déclaration d’emploi) and register at your local CPAM. You can find the document here.

Along with the document above you must provide your personal details along with some documents, including birth certificate.  You will also need to provide copy of your passports, cartes de séjour and a marriage certificate (if applicable).  You will need to provide copies with official translations for both the marriage and birth certificate.  You will also need proof of residence this could be a copy of your lease, or three successive energy, phone, internet or water bills in your name. And last your relevé d’identité bancaire (RIB) so you can get reimbursed. This is your French banking account information and should include the IBAN number.

Once you fill all the document you will need to send everything over the post to the local CPAM. In France they keep the post alive by sending absolutely everything over the post.

Normally it will take a few months and the CPAM will get back to you over letter if they need any further information. Or they will sent you your temporary Social Security Number.  For my husband it took 3 months, and for me who I came and started working on my 2nd day here took more than 1 year. They kept losing my documents, and everytime I went to the CPAM to check or give them all documents they kept asking me to use the Post Office if I wish to sent them any documents.

As soon as you receive the temporary number you are immediately entitled to the reimbursement of your medical expenses by the French health insurance system. If you had to visit doctors before you had the number, you can ask the doctor for “fiche de soin” . This is document that you later sent to the CPAM so they can reimburse you.

You will receive your permanent social security number and the card over the post normally in 3-4 weeks after the temporary one.

Once you have it, you will need it to create your ameli account: this is your personal area where you can access all your health insurance services from your devices.

And this is it, you can now enjoy all the benefits that France has to offer.

Leave a Reply