Healthcare Cover France

Hello everyone. I am hoping someone can help me figure out how to sort my problem. I had a heart failure in 2016 unfortunately I seems to be going around in circles to get France to cover me. I left england in 2014 worked their for 7years. I am a British citizen. I have been travelling and volunteering since then. I got sick in Spain where i made three emergency trips their only to be I was just having a bad chest infection. However I couldn’t breath or take care of my new born son. So my partner who is French drow us to Toulouse where some family stays for help. After a few weeks I was back in emergency only this time they said i am on 12%of a heart. I was dying drowning in my own body water. Two months hospital (tests;scans;medication )the nine wards to save my life (I used my EHIC). Thinking all is sorted. (Nope) the hospital said i had to apply for French healthcare. I didn’t beginning of 2017 and again 2018 after beginning sent back and forth asking I prove I don’t get free healthcare in England. I got a letter saying I am not allowed free healthcare since I left england in 2014. Till today I am not covered. The hospital has sued me for thousands of euros. I am in recovery. Not working. My partner has had to get out of retirement to earn some money.
If anyone knows a way I can sort this out please help. Can I still get a form from my old doctor in England to help with my applications. I have tired everything and now I am just in tears
Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this long post and all your help in advance

You don’t say how old you are.
Are you retired? Have you got a form S1 which would enable you to join the french health system
If you have not you would have to take insurance to cover your health costs.

I am 36 and not retired (too early) my partner took early retirement from the army but now his back. No I don’t have an S1 form as I never thought I would ever get this sick away from my own country. We’ve no money for me to get private insurances. I am now part of my partners army insurance but even that can’t help without the carte vitae

If you are not resident in the UK, and haven’t been for 4 years then the UK/NHS will not cover you. Sorry, but that’s the way it is now. There used to be a way to get cover based on your record of working in the UK and national insurance contributions, but that doesn’t exist now. I would be careful as well since you used your EHIC when you weren’t entitled to, as it’s only for UK residents. So that could cause extra problems.

It’s a big shame that you didn’t start the process of applying for a carte vitale 3 months after you arrived here. I don’t know whether there is any possibility of asking for this to be done retrospectively - seems unlikely but could be your best chance? If you have evidence to show when you became resident and evidence that you have enough money to support yourself then it could be worth going into your local CPAM office and asking?

You certainly should at least be starting the process of registering now as I presume you need continuing medical care? How are you getting medical treatment now, as that’s the most urgent thing I guess? And also to make sure your young son is covered - although if you are married him having a french father should mean he’s ok.

Sound like it’s a bit of a nightmare, so sorry for you.

Strangely I did apply after three months of being here. It’s not that I haven’t applied for carte vitae I have. The problem is I have been given a social security number with no right was told by CPAM that my file has been sent to CREIC for approval. It’s been a year since I have been going back and forth on this. I am not married to my partner. My son is covered under his father no problem. I am the one who is in trouble. So far no one has mentioned anything about the EHIC not even England as I have gone to every department you can think of to ask for help and as always it’s a Gray area and no one really has an answer. After a few weeks of being in hospital I asked if I could go back to UK to continue my healing and treatment and they said no as there the best heart hosiptal in Europe.
Someone once mentioned @the hospital that if I have a PAC it would be covered under my partner but then they CPAM said this doesn’t work anymore.
I am at a loose of what to do as my last visit to doctor the hospital made me feel like it would’ve been better if I died. Right now I pay all my meds with my partners credit card which has now overdraft and we’ve had to move into his mother house as can’t afford a place of our own. I have sent the CPAM and CREIC all the bills and recipients that show when I first got here. The person we stayed with when I first got here wrote me a letter which was also sent. I am having a stroke of bad luck and I am overwhelmed.

There also used to be a system of getting health cover as a beneficiary of your partner. But in January 2016 that changed and now the eligibility for the french health system is individual. So if all this happened after January 2016 then that’s why they said no.

So yes I can understand why you feel overwhelmed. And I’m sorry that I have no advice about how to manage your debts.

For continuing health cover you do need to keep asked about your CPAM application. French administration often takes persistence.

If you aren’t accepted, and can’t afford private health insurance you may need to think about going back to the UK. But this will be a big step as you may not be able to come back again if you haven’t paid your debts, and if you want to return after Brexit has happened.

One might imagine that there are policies and procedures that can be brought to bear on this very worrying situation, especially as the circumstances are rather unusual: very serious heart disease in a relatively young woman with a small child, both of whom are EU citizens.

Quite apart from the politics of welfare, someone somewhere must be giving weight to the compassionate grounds for supporting her claim to be treated sympathetically. But I suppose also that the bureaucracies will not rush to a decision until all possible suspicions of fraud or wilful deception have been excluded. There will also be an issue of “who blinks first” in the test of willingness to help her.

As long as the father of the child is still engaged with her I would suppose that French authorities will continue to provide for their medical needs, and I wonder what help may be forthcoming from her UK family, if there is one. This factor will be in the mix somewhere and will contribute either positively or negatively to the decisions made.

I’ve framed this opinion in terms detached from a direct address to the person concerned, but I am not emotionally detached from her deep distress, and hope the situation will be quickly sorted out for all concerned. Naivety is not a crime, but it is reprehensible and where faults have occurred it has equally to be shown that irresponsible decisions have consequences. The more willing she shows hereself to be contrite, and take řesponsibilty for her own negligence, the more understanding she will get, IMO. There is no room for excuses or claims to entitlement.

I am sure that those who have experience in matters like this, especially local experience, will chip in. The advice so far has been if a high quality and I trust the person concerned will make good use of it, and stay in touch.

As an afterthought, an approach to her MEP and MP might be a strand worth trying, especially if this carries with it a suitably contrite admission of personal negligence, and concern for the welfare of her child.

This whole scenario sounds horrific. I feel that someone in authority needs to sit down with you… get the full facts… and somehow look at/cut through the Red Tape (or whatever) that is causing a problem.

It may well be that you do NOT have entitlement to French Health cover… it might be that you DO. Applying for CV does not mean it will automatically be granted… but it would be useful to know if you have been Refused or are merely Lost somewhere in the System.

Your Mairie will be able to put you in contact with the Assistante Sociale… a person/office which handles such matters…when folk are in dire straits.

If you do owe a large sum to the Health Authority… the Assistante Sociale might well be able to mediate on your behalf.

Best of luck…


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Thank you everyone for all your help. Every little information helps.

“If the words I wish I had known would explain this I can say now I wish I had known”
Thank you again for all your help

Grâce, may I advise you - without being unnecessarily cruel to you - to reframe your statement to admit to yourself, and others, that you should have informed yourself, and failed to take řesponsibilty for doing so. You are/were an adult, and you hoped that things would be OK, and that you would not be ill in a foreign country. That was reckless on your part, and you are paying the price. No-one is going to accept your plea of “If only…”. It’s childish, and will get you nowhere.

You have to grow up.

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Good idea Stella…a neighbour who was in deep financial trouble (to the extent that we and others locally were giving her food) had her debts negotiated by the assistante sociale and is slowly working her way out of debt.

Thank you for all your words. If you only knew my situation better then you would not be in this mindset. But it’s ok. Have a great Sunday. Blessings

My advice, Grace, has been based entirely on what you yourself have told us about your “situation”. If you can’t accept it, that’s up to you. But your attitude to it says a lot about your own mind-set, and will be conveyed to people who you ask for help and are probably willing to provide it.

But not as long as you blame bad luck, and don’t accept your part in inviting it.

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Getting healthcare in France is a case of jumping through hoops while ensuring that you have ticked the correct boxes on the way. If you can’t complete this it won’t happen.
There are a lot of holes in your explanation;
You say that you left England in 2014 so where have you been resident for the last four years? Where have you been completing a tax return, paying local taxes and paying into the healthcare system? Leaving England is one thing but you also need to arrive somewhere else.
You mention a partner but do you have any formal connection to him? I presume that you are not married but are you PACSed or in an official civil partnership? In France these distinctions really matter.
As mentioned an EHIC Card is for holidays not residents and in hospital, even if you are entitled to use one you will still have to contribute 20% of the costs plus a daily rate for your stay in hospital. With serious surgery this can work out to be expensive.
Circumstances have placed you in an unfortunate position and you cannot reset it to the beginning. If your future is in France and you wish to become a resident here you must get yourself sorted. Residency and joining the healthcare system require more than just being here, you have to be able to prove that you have sufficient income as well. It’s not necessarially easy but it has to be done.

Hello Grace,

I think that Stella has probably hit the nail on the head with the best solution to your problem. If you go to the Assistante Social (via your local Mairie), and explain the situation to them in full, then I’m sure that they will be able to help you to sort it all out.
From personal experience I can tell you that one phone call from an Assistante Social will very often result in weeks of administrative delay being reduced to just a few hours because they know exactly who to phone as well as a direct line number to the relevant person’s desk.
Good luck, and best wishes for a full recovery to normal health.

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