Carte Vitale/ medical advice needed


I'm sorry if this has been covered somewhere before but I need some quick advice.

I have just been offered a teaching job in France under a UK contract with my salary being paid into a UK bank account and with UK deductions for tax and national insurance.

However, I take regular medication and will need to register with a French doctor and continue to receive my treatment. Obviously, this is all currently provided by the NHS here in the UK and I pay for prescriptions by my NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate which I'm very pleased with. I also see my G.P. for reviews and other matters without charge.

So, how do I get medical cover in France at minimal cost similar to here in the UK? I will not be earning a particularly large salary so any extra charges would be onerous. I do have an EHIC but I know this will not cover all my medical charges. Is there any way I can 'plug into' the French healthcare system?



I will have to see how things go Shirley and I will keep everyone posted!

You can't even get an aspirin outside of a pharmacy here (bit of a pharmacy mafia.)

Toulouse airport at 6 am with a minging headache and forget about nipping in to the news agent for a paracetamol.

Thanks Steve,

My main concern will be prescription only medicine. But I will miss the range of pharmaceutical products in British supermarkets.

Hi Shirley,

I will not be working in a French school but an English run one, teaching business English. I am in a process of discussion with my employer over this as it is common for them to employ people in France on UK contracts. I worked for them before in 2007-08 when I had no health issues and to be honest I had no real concern about the health care system at the time (I did have a EHIC). I'm taking two months supply of medication by which time will hope to have made contact with the local CPAM with my S1 for an Attestation.

No problem Christine. Thanks for trying to help!

Apologies Digby, we are early retirees, but I had understood that the S1 was being withdrawn completely. Sorry if I led you in the wrong direction. I stand corrected! Good news for you though!

Sorry Shirley,

I got carried away on a wave of positivity!

I've got a stash of these photographs for this very purpose!

I'm chillaxin!

Ah OK. I had an S2 which is a slight variation but same origins, I was under the impression the S1 had the same procedures, it may have changed. My advice would stand - keep a copy of the S1 for yourself, and collect up all the paperwork relating to medical expenses (Bills, feuille de soins, prescriptions) - don't throw anything away as you need to send it all off to get your expenses reimbursed.

@mary but just to clarify, you cant get a carte vitale unless you are paying into the French Health system.

Hi Billy,

Yes i did go there specifically to give birth but I'm nearly sure the procedure/room etc was paid for by NHS but I know that when it came to going for check ups/esp prescriptions that there was a lot of paperwork to fill out and I had to pay in advance, all mounts up!!!

Hi Digby - just a couple of pieces of advice/extra info: When you receive your S1 form, take a copy before sending it off to the CPAM, just in case! This is the key document which will entitle you to reimbursement of any medical expenses, and if it goes astray that would be a bit of a nightmare!

Secondly - lots of people have mentioned that it could take a while to get your Carte Vitale through. Just on the practical side, if you've got an S1, your medical expenses will be reimbursed (up to the value that a French person would be reimbursed) and that's the key thing. The Carte Vitale is useful in that once you have it many (but not all!) healthcare providers will not charge you upfront, but whilst you're waiting for that, you can pay upfront and still be reimbursed - just keep EVERY piece of paper that related to anything you do, healthcare-wise! It can be a pain for the cashflow whilst you're waiting for the Carte Vitale, but if you have the S1 you know that you'll get the money back.

Good luck with the job.

Thanks Irene. I can relax again!

I had a motorcycle accident last September near Vierzon when I was rammed from behind by a French motorist swerving to change lanes at the last minute while entering the autoroute. I ended up immobilised in hospital. I had my EHIC and was in contact with my travel insurers about getting brought back home but the phone stopped ringing once they knew I had been traveling by motorcycle. I ended up with a €300 bill. I am still having physiotherapy on my knee in the UK but have assumed I won't be able to afford this if I move to France.

Sorry but my text seems to have gone bold and I can't switch it back.

Actually the French system is not free (it is reimbursements) and only if you are resident and have paid into the system or happen to be French and 'au chaumage' then is it free.

If you come here with no job from the UK and are not officially of UK retirement age, you fend for yourself and if you land in hospital, they will bill you.

That sounds as it should be!

Well I don't have the reply to your question! As a German pensioner (although British National) my problems were all taken care of between the Germans and the French systems! Maybe they were scared of each other, in any case I have had no problems at all for well over 12 years, lots of health issues, but no problems with the systems.

Why will they deduct UK NI and tax if you are in France?

If you are WORKING in the UK (as in you fly up to London during the week and come back on the weekends) then I could see it.

But that does not make sense unless they are trying to dodge paying employers cotisations. But you work here and they pay you to teach in a school in France they should at the very least do it via AE or via a CDD.