Ex pats to lose state health entitlement

[(In his election campaign speech, M. Sarkosy said: “If you feel you are old enough to retire at 53, go ahead, but don’t expect the state to pay for it.”)]

It has now been confirmed that Britons living in France who are below UK state retirement age and are not working or in receipt of an E106 will need private health insurance from April 2008. In a six-month countdown to the end of the CMU, ( Couverture Maladie Universelle) ex pats will be expected to finance their own private health insurance from March 31st, 2008.

If you are in possession of an E121 form, allocated to British citizens of UK state pension age, you will NOT be affected and will continue to receive cover.

If you are in possession of a form E106, (valid around two years) you are still eligible for free healthcare until its expiry, after which you will have to take out private health insurance.

If you have been paying voluntarily ‘cotisations’ (payments into the French health system) your Carte Vitale will no longer be valid from 31st March 2008, and you will still need to purchase private healthcare.

If you are working legally (at least 60 hours per month) .and paying social charges, you will continue to receive all the benefits of the carte vitale.

New arrivals in France will be expected to visit their local Mairie in the first three months after their arrival and provide proof of E121, E106, or private medical insurance. On verification of this, they will be issued with a Certificate of residence (as yet unconfirmed).

If you have a chronic or serious pre-existing condition, making it difficult to obtain private insurance, there is as yet, no specific exemption. It is hoped however, that each case will be judged on its own merit and those unable to find insurance will be allowed to continue to benefit from the state health allocation.

Where the husband is legally retired (and therefore eligible for a carte vitale under French state health care) his wife is also covered as a dependant. However, this does not necessarily work the other way round. Further information to come on this in the future.

If you have been obliged to relinquish your state health care and take on private insurance, it will be reinstated once you reach retirement age.

These changes affect people living in France and do not apply to people making a temporary visit to or holidaying in France.

In Britain, the NHS continues to be free for all patients “ordinarily resident” in the UK.

Your questions…

“What is to stop me starting up my own business and qualifying for state health care?
In theory, there is nothing to stop you doing this. However, the cost of the various start up charges, social charges and business taxes to follow will very likely outweigh the cost of taking out a private insurance policy.

The british government site  suggest that people seek further information from one or more of the following:
✎ CPAM – The French Health Service (English language service): +33 8 20 90 42 12
✎ CLEISS – (France’s helpdesk for international mobility and social security):
11 rue de la tour des Dames
75436 Paris Cedex 09
Tel: +33 1 45 26 33 41
✎ DWP Overseas Medical Benefits helpline: Tel: +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm)

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