Covid vaccine for Early Retirees without Carte Vitale

Hello all.

Our dilemma regarding the Covid-19 vaccination program requires a Carte Vitale for booking and on arrival at the centre for vaccination.

My husband and I are early retirees who moved into our maison secondaire in Oct 2020, crossing the Rubicon/La Manche after selling up in UK. We successfully applied and registered at the Prefecture for our new Brexit WA Resident Cards. Being not yet of UK retirement age, we are ineligible to obtain UK S1 forms, join France CPAM or acquire a Carte Vitale. We currently hold Cigna private healthcare cover insurance.

The France vaccination program does not accept private healthcare bookings (without a Carte Vitale) nor payment; we have formally withdrawn from the UK NHS so, would not return there for vaccination. How then do we get the Covid-19 vaccination in France?

There must be other residents here with the same problem that would be grateful for a solution. Can anyone help us?

If you arrived in October 2020 then you must have been here for around 3 months now? So you are entitled to join the French Health Service (PUMA, CPAM) and will then take a month so to get your carte vitale. You will have to pay a percentage to join, but this will be far less than private health insurance! And far better in the long run, not just for the vaccine.

And if you are early retirees unless you have specific health conditions you are not in the first tranches of eligibility for the vaccine. They are currently doing over 75’s, then it will be over 65’s probably around March time, and then under 65’s . So you have time!

Thank you so much, Jane!
It is a rather frightening time, health wise, and it really helps to have something to work on. We would indeed not be in line for vaccines until after March. In the meantime I shall be looking up PUMA…

This is the basic link, and then there is a very simple form to fill in. It is a shame you didn’t start the process before xmas, but it is quite possible that they will allow you to apply as a european (ex). Worth giving it a try!

Puma does not appear to have limitation for where you came from (or when)

Health insurance

Rolled out on January 1st, 2016, France’s universal healthcare system (PUMa) guarantees coverage of healthcare expenses with no gap in coverage in the event of a change in circumstances (work-related, family, or residential) for all individuals who:

  • are working, or
  • have been residing in France (including Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion Island, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin) on a stable and ongoing basis for at least 3 months.

I found it quite difficult to get a carte Vitale as being too young for an S1.

Eventually got one by registering gite as a business.

PUMA is the official route in these circumstances but I don’t know of anyone’s experience in trying it. Like @Mat_Davies my partner registered himself as a business (autoentrepreneur) in order to get into the system, but PUMA is supposed to sweep up everyone who doesn’t fall into a standard category.

I spoke to someone at work who was asking the same question and I told them to call the Ameli helpline, they did and fed back to me that it was residency based and not if you were in the system yet or not.

If you look at the link I posted there is clearly a need to be a “stable” resident which means that you have been here for three months if you are inactive (workers can join straight away). And then there is a different process if you are non-European in that you need to provide your titre de séjour.

Which in the case of the OP is a nasty catch 22, as are no longer european but so not yet have their new CdS.

We joined the health system as inactives without S1s with no problems whatsoever - barring the normal mountain of paperwork…

Hi Susannah,
My husband and I are in a similar situation to you, I think. We moved to SW France in October 2016 as early retirees and since then we too have Cigna health insurance. We are not planning to give this up for a Carte Vitale as we have worldwide cover including up to 180 days in the UK (we can’t afford both). It is therefore encouraging to learn from Tory that vaccination will depend on residency and not the possession of a CV,

Isn’t that an expensive way to go about it? When we first moved here as inactifs we calculated that we would need to have an income of over 75k for it to be cheaper to take out private insurance than join (what is now) PUMA. But then I guess we didn’t want 6 months travel insurance cover, so no idea how much that would cost - 500€ maybe?

We didn’t know that when we moved here, but surely that is fair all round, why should we sponge off the french healthcare system ?

We didn’t sponge off the French healthcare system, but paid our way like any other French resident!!

Our overall philosophy is to support public systems rather than private profit companies, so our approach suits us well. You’ve chosen a different approach, which no doubt suits you well. But unless money is no object, perhaps recheck your figures?

@toryroo How will that work Tory? You can’t buy a vaccination, and the first thing you are asked for is your CV.? How will a vaccination centre deal with this I wonder, as important that there is a record of those vaccinated. .

I know an elderly Brit was given one some weeks back, but that seemed to be a personal humanitarian decision.

You are very harsh Jane. We pay , ourselves , doctor’s fees , pharmacy costs, all out patient fees (husband had pacemaker fitted - Cigna paid) but we pay all follow-up blood tests and cardio check ups . We have always donated to charity and supported a sponsored child for 28 years. Your circumstances and ours are different, I’m not accusing anyone of sponging, but we are supporting the local community too and we cost France nothing , and we pay french income tax !

Apologies if I misread, but by saying

you were by implication saying that I did because I am in the French Health system.

Let us not get into a virtue signalling war of who gives more to charity or the French tax system. I was merely suggesting that it could be worth you revisiting your calculations. They are complex because of things like CSG exemptions, but could benefit you.

We have a high income Jane, we’ve done the maths and we don’t want to claim a CV by the back door, but we would like a Covid vaccnt !

Please add your surname as per our T&C - thanks!

I know I am labouring this point, but I really don’t understand why you consider any resident applying in the normal way of any resident to join the health service, and then paying for it exactly like any other resident should be “claiming” by the back door”? What is underhand about that?

I now get that you don’t need to because you are very well-off, but please don’t suggest others are doing something slightly illicit by doing so.

I can’t comment on how you or anybody else access the french healthcare system ,Jane, I do not know your circumstances. I was only refering to us, we were advised that if we set up a business we would have automatic healthcare. We felt we were being given that advice purely to exploit a loophole in the system (I am not criticising those who have a genuine business and so access the system), but in our case we felt our claim would be dubious.