Health care problems

I’m sure this question has arisen before so I’m hoping someone can help me. My husband and I came to live in France in August 2020. We have a refusal letter from NI UK. We are early retirees with occupational pensions. We applied to our local CPAM in November. Their letter to us went missing but we eventually got it via the helpline in January 2020. It requested more info, which we sent. Then we were told to be patient and wait for our temp. SS number. Nothing, then after much deliberation our local CPAM told us you need to fill out a form 710 each and send it to Nimes. We have taken out private health insurance to cover us until October 2021 as this is taking so long. Form 710 asks if we have private insurance and to provide 12 months evidence of , resources savings etc. ( bank statements? )
My questions are : 1. will i be able to join the French health care system if i have private medical insurance or do i need to wait until it runs out? But if my insurance runs out before i join healthcare system will i still be a resident of France?
2. Do i have to send them 12 months worth of bank statements from my 4 banks!
3. My husband gets his S1 next year will i be able to get my name on his S1 and have the UK fund my healthcare in France ?
4. Do I send the information as it was when i first started this in November 2020 or do i need to update it all. Ive already sent stuff in November.

Hello Sheila and welcome to Survive France!

Other experts will probably be along later as the site is more active in the evenings but meanwhile, these are my answers…

  1. Yes you can, and should, join the French healthcare system but the ways in which you can do that are slightly varied. I am not an expert but if you join under the PUMA scheme (which you can do after 3 months here) you will then be part of the system. The kind of health insurance you need at that point (and it’s optional) is a sort of top-up insurance since the state system doesn’t always reimburse all costs. For detailed advice in this are @fabien is your man!
  2. You don’t need bank statements for anything to do with health but you do for residency permits - is that what you mean? All you need is to demonstrate that you have over a certain amount of income so that you don’t become a charge on the state. @toryroo is the expert on this area.
  3. Short answer to this is “yes” - I have just put my partner on my S1
  4. Depends who you are sending all this to - if it’s to do with the residency permit then they want to know current state I think but Tory will advise

Good luck - you’ll get there!

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Thanks for this.
I have been asked for 12 months evidence of resources on form 710, which is the health form form early retirees.
Good news about the S1. It will mean I can go on my husbands before I get my state pension.

Just my thoughts…

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Thank you so much for this response. Just one thing in 2. what did you mean by ‘However ne confident that you will get your card’ ? You’re not confident I’ll get a Carte Vitale or a Residency card.

I am completely confident you will get both! France has said again and again that they are not looking to reject British residents…,especially if you have enough money and your own home. (Sadly if you are young, poor and unskilled it can be a different matter)

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Thank you so much for this, it’s given me a real headache trying to negotiate the system, not helped unfortunately by those in the system who don’t know how it applies to early retirees. So far it’s taken 5 and a half months. I’ve had sleepless nights over this and my husband has just decided to stick with his private health insurance I’m made of sterner stuff!!

CPAM can be a war of attrition…which is why the whole simplicity of the WARP application system is such a remarkable thing!

When we moved here it took well over 6 months to get into the system, even with OH having a worker’s S1. What I learnt was to never go anywhere without my “dossier”. Even if I had provided things 3 times it wasn’t unusual to be asked again. Smile, deep breath and keep going. It will happen.


Jane - you are quite right - I did have my S1 when I arrived - I didn’t realise it made such a difference… ooops :blush: - thanks for putting me straight on that one.

Sheila - please believe what Jane is saying here - you will definitely get your Carte de Sejour (WARP) and your Carte Vitale but everything does take quite a time here. I decided that I would need at least 6 visits for each when I arrived - it actually didn’t take that many, but patience and politeness does get you there! The staff at these places do actually want to help so hang on in there and we’ll support all we can!

If you want a really fun time with CPAM, see how many times you have to submit the same information each time the application gets pushed up to the next level of CPAM supervision when the person being enrolled has the following complications:

  • In the French system’s under her married name

  • Born in the Far East, but was born a British citizen

  • Divorced and then remarried outside of the EU

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Don’t panic.

Took us 9 months to get our CV, cannot remember about our original CdS.

Wheels grind very slowly in France, but you will get there.

Keep smiling and enjoy the sunshine


I’m not surprised, I’ve sent the same information twice so far and am now about to send it all to Nimes for the third time. I knew it needed to go Nimes as I’m an early retiree, but I had to go through the local CPAM and wait for the penny to drop with them before they told me to send everything to Nimes. I live in Saone-et-loire and there aren’t many Brits here so I suppose it was a bit out of the usual.

And then Nimes may well send it to the international processing centre at Belfort! Make sure you have another copy of your dossier ready.

A bit like aversion therapy for people afraid of spiders, you get so frazzled by it all that at the end there is no option but to be laid back and accept the French way of life…is an exercise in making sure you adapt!

OH had a worker’ s S1, but our CPAM refused to deal with it to start with so made him jump through the financial hoops a few times before they realised. And that was in the day when everything had to be translated too. So when I then appeared a year later with my beneficiary’s S1 it was a breeze!