Healthcare Insurance for non-EU residents

Much of the discussion about healthcare insurance concerns EU residents moving to France and transferring their existing national healthcare insurance status to the French carte vitale. My dilemma is, although an EU national, I've lived and worked for 35 years in the US where there is no "national healthcare system". And no mandated retirement age. What does someone like me have to do when they arrive in France? I'm reasonably au fait with the general system, but I need to set something in train so that when I apply for a carte d'identite I can show that I have health insurance coverage. My options seem to be (1) register with CPAM for CMU coverage and pay 8 percent of my income for the privilege; (2) buy a policy from a private company such as AXA or Generali but not be covered for pre-existing conditions; (3) -and this is a long shot - buy extra credit to supplement payments I made into the French and Irish social security systems back in the 1970s so that I would become eligible for a carte vitale; or (4) become self-employed, something I really don't want to do in my mid-60s (65 in July). Advice will be most welcome.

I believe - but am not sure as I am way too young for pensions yet ( :-) ) that once British citizens reach pensionable age in Britain, they are entitled to some kind of EU form that entitles them to the same health care as nationals of the country they are living in. I would imagine it is the same for all EU nationals so Brian many be eligible that way? Need to ask a pensioner!

Brian, I think that you would have to pay in the CPAM but it may not be as much as you think since you have contributed some bits in the French system and also some in the Irish system.
I am French, have lived in the US 43 years, have contributed very little (less than a year) in the French system, I have to pay 8% in the system now, it is requested from us quarterly and it covers me and my husband who is a US citizen, we have a top up insurance also. The quarterly payment to CPAM is revised every year in September, and based on your income that year, so every year it changes; when we arrived in France it was in July, so that year our income available in France was for only 6 months, so our payment to CPAM was very small.
Do you know in which region of France you would move ? Perhaps you could inquire of the CPAM of that region via e-mail ? I am sure they would respond, some region have an english speaking person, we do in Charente-Maritime.

Good point, Tracy. I've been trying to find out from Pensions people in Ireland what are my (and Henry's) entitlements to a pension. I think you have to wait until age 67. What kind of reciprocal agreements do you mean?

I believe if you're not covered by a reciprocal agreement then you would have to get private insurance as unless you have lived here for 5 years you are not eligible to pay into the CMU. However, if you have paid into Ireland, would this not make you an Irish pensioner and therefore eligible? Don't think you can buy extra credits in France but might be worth checking to see if you are eligible as a pensioner albeit on a non-existent pension.

Hi Brian. You've raised a couple of interesting questions there. I always thought that a carte d'identite would only be issued to French nationals. So if you have any further information about this, I would be pleased to hear. Thanks, Sheila