Is your healthcare covered in France if you catch the Coronavirus?

Apr 28, 2020

Healthcare France
Coronavirus-related medical costs could force expats to pay thousands for healthcare in France, warns insurance expert Daniel Butcher

Jane and Chris Boden, aged 65 and 71 respectively, who contracted the Coronavirus together on 21 March 2020, have to pay almost €4,000* after spending four days in intensive care.

Despite having a carte vitale, French Tax Resident status and being registered with CPAM, as expats they only had 70% of their medical bills covered.

DTB Wealth Management, a Conseil en Gestion de Patrimoine (CGP), which is qualified to provide legal, financial and insurance solutions, works with expats to ensure they have correct health coverage.

“The problem was that Mr and Mrs Boden did not have a mutuelle, to ‘top up’ the remaining 30%” said Daniel Butcher, founder of DTB Wealth Management, formerly a senior insurance executive with AXA.

With Coronavirus confinement restrictions start to lift on 11 May 2020 and the Brexit transition period ending on 31 December 2020, expats must ensure their healthcare is fully covered.

According to the Office of National Statistics, around 50% of expats in France are aged 50+, the age group most at risk from Covid-19.

“Early retirees and pensioners must check if they have minimum cover, how long it lasts and whether it is compliant with the withdrawal agreements,” said Daniel. “Standard healthcare coverage usually extends to just 70%. When you consider that a staying in hospital costs a minimum of €511 per day, it’s crucial to have 100% of costs covered – this is only possible if you hold both, a Carte Vitale and a “Mutuelle” top up policy.”

Expats will have minimum cover if they are registered with one of four organisations: CPAM (Caisse Primaire D’Assurance Maladie), which is basic state cover; SSI (Security Social des Indépendants – previously known as RSI), which is for gite owners and all self-employed expats; PUMA (Protection Universelle Maladie), formerly CMU it covers healthcare costs in case of illness for expats who live or work in France on a regular basis; and AME (Aide Médical d’État).

“Exceptionally, British expats can still obtain PUMA without a carte de séjour, until 31 December 2020 as they are still considered EU citizens,” said Daniel. “The AME, however, is the ultimate solution as it is state medical assistance covering 100% of healthcare costs.”

AME is also an intermediary solution for expats who don’t yet hold a carte de séjour or can’t prove they are in the process of asking for one.

“As an insurance broker we’re in the best position to help expats in France protect their health, assets, family and future,” said Daniel. “Only a French-based, English-speaking CGP like us can provide tailor-made, optimised solutions that fulfil our clients’ unique combination of requirements.”

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