The social security liaison centre CLEISS (Centre des Liaisons Européennes et Internationales de Sécurité Sociale) provides detailed information concerning EU citizens’ healthcare in France. The site contains information in several languages, including English.
The contact information for the doctors (médecin conventionné) and the contract institutions (conventionné & agréé) within the French healthcare system is available from the local sickness funds (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie, CPAM). These funds can also be contacted to claim reimbursement for medical expenses.
In overseas territories, the primary sickness fund is the Caisse Générale de Sécurité Sociale.
The following overseas territories of France apply Regulation No. 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the coordination of social security systems: Mayotte, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Réunion and Saint Martin. The European Health Insurance Card can be used in these territories.
The following French overseas territories, however, do not belong to the European Union and the European Health Insurance Card cannot be used there: New Caledonia, Wallis, Futuna, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre, Miquelon, Adélie and Saint Barthélémy.
Before making an appointment with a doctor, ensure that the doctor is “conventionné”, that is, they have an agreement with the national healthcare system. There are two types of conventionné doctors: others charge according to the official social security rates (secteur 1), while others charge an additional payment on top of the official rate (secteur 2). In both cases, CPAM will cover a part of your medical expenses. The amount of reimbursement is fixed, which means that your share of the payment can vary depending on the doctor that you choose.
At the doctor’s practice, you will pay for all of the treatment expenses yourself. You will receive a certificate (feuille de soins) that contains the information regarding the amount of payment. You need this certificate when applying for reimbursement from the local CPAM.
For doctor and dentist fees, the amount of reimbursement is 70 % of the official social security rate. A general practitioner’s rate is € 23 and a specialist’s rate is € 25. The remaining portion is the patient’s deductible (ticket modérateur). The deductible will always be increased by € 1 for a doctor visit, laboratory test or X-ray examination and € 0.50 for each supplementary healthcare service (such as physiotherapy).
For laboratory tests and supplementary healthcare services, the reimbursement is 60 %. For a more demanding procedure that costs a minimum of € 120, the deductible is € 18 and 100 % of the other treatment expenses are covered. The deductible is fixed and does not depend on the costs of the procedure or on whether the procedure was performed in a hospital or at a doctor’s practice.
You can receive your prescription medicine at a pharmacy by presenting the certificate of treatment (”feuille de soins”) and the prescription. At the pharmacy, you pay for your medicine yourself and receive another certificate of treatment.
Sign and date the “feuille de soins” certificates that you receive. Submit the certificates, prescriptions and a copy of your European Health Insurance Card (or a temporary certificate) to the local sickness fund while you are still in France. You also need to enter your permanent address and bank details in the certificate of treatment.
The reimbursement will be 100 %, 65 %, 35 % or 15 % of the price of the medicine. The reimbursement is calculated on the basis of reference prices. Not all medicines are covered; in this case, you will need to pay for the medicine yourself. Every prescription medicine will also incur a charge of € 0.50.
A doctor will provide you with a referral for hospital treatment. In case of urgent attacks of illness, you can go straight to a hospital. Show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card.
In addition to a public hospital, you can also go to a private hospital or clinic as long as they have the conventionné contract. 80 % or, in some cases, 100 % of your hospital treatment costs are covered.
The hospitals often deduct the reimbursement from your treatment bill; this means that you will pay a 20 % in addition to the fixed, daily hospital charge (€ 18). If you undergo a demanding procedure (in a hospital costing € 120 or more, you will be charged 20 % co-payment and a € 18 flat rate hospital fee.
For outpatient care at a hospital clinic, you can apply for reimbursement from the sickness fund retrospectively (using a similar procedure as the one for doctor visits).
Ambulance transport is subject to a charge in France unless a doctor can confirm that the transport was necessary due to the patient’s state of health. For transport to healthcare, the coverage is 65 % and the deductible is € 2. For air ambulance transport, a doctor must confirm that an air ambulance is actually needed and advance permission from the local CPAM is also required.
If you are required to pay full price
If you are required to pay full price for public healthcare treatment that should have been covered by the European Health Insurance Card, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively. You can apply for reimbursement either from the health insurance institution of the destination country or from Kela on form SV 128.
In France, you can search for healthcare service providers on the Annuaire Santé (Database of healthcare providers) website that is maintained by the French health insurance institute. The site is in French. You can search for healthcare professionals (un professionnel de santé) or hospitals and other treatment facilities (un établissement de soins). You can also search according to locality and specialisation.
Practices and costs related to treatment
A general practitioner will guide the patient to a specialist if necessary. However, the general practitioner also plays a key role in following up on the treatment. If you have a referral from a doctor in Finland, please ensure in advance that it can be accepted. No referral is required for gynaecologists, ophthalmologists, psychiatrists (16–25-year-olds) and dentists.
You can contact the place of treatment directly to inquire about prices. Some private clinics also publish pricing information on their website.
Quality and safety of treatment
All doctors operating in France are registered in the Medical Council of France (Le Conseil National de l’Ordre des Médecins). The council is responsible for the quality and safety of the treatment provided to patients. On the website, you can find information on the patient’s rights in France.
Healthcare service providers operating in France are responsible for publishing the quality and safety indicators that concern the treatment they provide. More information is available on the website Scope Santé. The website of the French contact point also contains information concerning the regional and national quality control of the healthcare provided in the country.