Medical Insurance/Cover


Does anyone know where we can buy some comprehensive medical insurance for us and our three children. We are not paying into the French social security system as I am yet to find work and my husband works between Switzerland and sometimes London... As the children were not born in the UK (born in Luxembourg) they do not even have UK social security numbers besides which they have never lived there and I could not bring myself to make a claim for Brit citizens that hardly know the place !! Luxembourg have told us that as we no longer live there, we can not be re-imbursed by them. Switzerland say that as the children are not registered as living there either (or within a sensible distance of the border), we can not claim from them either. Are there any companies that provide fully comprehensive insurance as I only seem able to find "top-ups" ? Thank you everyone.


Sear Ian,

Thanks! I'll look into it.



Dear Holly

I have dual British and American citizenship and my wife is American. For us the solution was found with Look at their dual language website and give them a call on FREEPHONE 0800 900 258 and I feel sure that they can help you.

Best wishes

Ian Swan

Hi. My situation is a bit unusual, & I'm hoping someone has a solution for me. I am a U.S. citizen, residing in France since the end of October 2011 with my husband who is a dual U.S./Irish citizen. While his EU citizenship makes it easier for us to live here legally (I wouldn't even dream of doing it illegally!), he has never worked in Ireland (only the U.S.), so has never paid into the Irish healthcare system, therefore he cannot take advantage of reciprocal coverage here in France. We contacted the Irish Consulate & they very firmly -- & rudely -- told us there was no way we could become part of the Irish system, even though we are quite willing to pay for coverage. To meet the requirements for my Carte de Séjour I purchased the bare minimum insurance, but it doesn't really offer much other than keeping me compliant with immigraton regulations. Neither of us has plans to work here, so there is no possibility of getting coverage through employment. The idea of auto entrepreneur crossed my mind, that brings up a whole other set of complications & legal hurdles. We have not been able to figure out a way to qualify for insurance, other than expensive private coverage, & my husband has certain health conditions that make it cost-prohibitive. Tony's information is comprehensive, but seems to apply only to British ex-pats who have been part of the UK health system. Does anyone have a solution for us? Thanks in advance.


I suggest that you contact Amariz Ltd in the UK first thing in the morning. Freephone from France 0800 900 258 or 00 44 117 974 5770. They will be able to fix you up and, if there are no adverse medical conditions to consider, even the same day.

Good luck

Ian Swan

Dear Kevin

I have just joined this site so you may have resolved your health insurance difficulties. If not I suggest that you contact - numero vert 0800 900 258. This company has been providing health insurance cover for people living in France since 1990. The site is bilingual as are the staff. Cover is provided by Lloyd’s of London. I feel sure that Amariz can provide you with a quick solution.

Best wishes

Ian Swan

Dear Lucy

I have just joined this site so you may have found a solution to your difficulties but if not this is what I suggest you do. Contact - numero vert 0800 900 258 This company has been specialising in providing health insurance for people living in France since 1990. The site is bilingual as is the staff and the insurance cover is provided by Lloyd’s of London. I also know that Amariz have a special “family rate” for a couple who have two or more children.

Best wishes

Ian Swan

Hi Courtney,

Sorry for the late reply, Bouygues in my area was down till just now. Yes mine was full coverage. They have several types of coverage and PDFs with normal English are available.

Hope that helps


Hi Tony,

Thank you for the information. I will be in touch tomorrow. My wonderful Hotmail has just crashed due to some silverlight pluggin issue !!

Would you be kind enough please to post your telephone number or email address, in order for me to do so ?

Many thanks,


Good evening everyone.
My name is Tony MASON and I work for a well established independent insurance broker based in Bordeaux specializing in expat health care in France. I have been contacted by one of your members to see if I can help. All of the answers given so far are or have been correct but some rules and traps still apply. Please note that all translations of official French documents have been done for information only. If you wish to read the French document, it is visible on my website, see my personal info.
You will probably find this very boring but it is VERY important to understand what is going on.
Let’s start with a little history to explain how we all got into this mess,.
The CMU, (Couverture Maladie Universelle) originally put in place for the French population with limited resources. The CMU gave everyone access to minimum health cover via the CPAM (Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie). The CMU made it possible for expats having lived in France for at least three months to get Social security cover and be legal in France.
In November 2007 the French CMU was taken away or refused from thousands of expats living in France. Many insurance companies took advantage of this wave of panic by proposing expensive “FULL COVER” private insurance policies replacing the R.O, (Régime Obligatoire (minimum state social health cover)) and possibly “Top-Up” depending on the level of cover chosen. Clearly this decision by the French government made the EU Commission react and on the 1st April 2008, the majority of expats where let back into CPAM or CMU.
However, not everyone was let back in and new rules were put in force:
1. If you were not in the French system on the 23rd November 2007.
2. Your S1/E106 or S1/E109 has run out and is not renewable.
3. You have not yet reached state of origins retirement age and have no other long-term benefit from the UK - S1/E121.
4. You are INACTIVE! Not working, nor do you have a student status.
5. You have not officially lived in France for 5 years.
If you did not comply with these rules then you were in “SITUATION IRREGULIERE” and were obliged to replace your R.O.
Undoubtedly, the best way to get your R.O back, was, and still is by working, either salaried or self-employed. Not everybody can or even wants to work having taken early retirement in France.
On another hand, some “Full Cover” private policies have proven to be less time consuming and even less expensive than the CMU for some that had larger incomes.
An example: About 215€/m for a couple of 55 years for 150% Hospitalisation NA cover (NA-Non Assujettis (special cover using the French “base de convention” recognized by the French system)).
The EU Commission and many expats still living in France without R.O cover were rejoiced last June when the CIRCULAIRE N°: DSS/DACI/2011/225 from the “Direction de la Sécurité Sociale” stated “…inactive residents habitually in France could be granted the CMU subject to a case by case examination”. This meant that expats that were expecting their S1E106 documents to expire on the 31/12/2011 or newcomers could gain or maintain their CPAM rights by moving onto the CMU.
At first, this was great news for hundreds of our clients all over France as it meant the nasty FULL COVER quote that we had sent then the week before could go in the bin.
Gradually, I realized that clients were coming back to me saying that CPAM had refused their CMU applications on the basis that they didn’t comply to the “5 year rule and that the foreseeable expiration of an S1E106 could not grant access to the CMU”.

Regrettably, a second text destined to the French CPAM officers in January reinforced these refusals by quoting other documents about habitual residency being 5 years.
There are still ways in to the French system on a “case by case” study but the majority have given up.
To be able to stay in France and even be considered by the CPAM or CMU, without valid S1 forms the new texts are clear:
“Inactive European citizens will have the right to stay in France for more than 3 months if they dispose, for themselves and for family members… …« sufficient resources as to not become a burden to the social system and have health insurance ». “ the text goes on to say “Their affiliation can also come from permanent French residency obtained after 5 years of stable and regular residence, or from particular situations for people affiliated before the 23rd November 2007. “

But! “2 – The rights to the CMU can be accorded, in certain situations, to an inactive European citizen that until now fulfill the regular stay conditions, before the 5 years of stable and regular residency. “
There is also a VERY IMPORTANT part regarding your choice of NA FULL COVER.
This will probably limit your choices to just a few companies but don’t worry, they are not the most expensive ones.
“1.3. – When the parties concerned claim to be in possession of private health cover, contracted in France or abroad. In this case, the medical acts must be verified to be « comparable » to the benefits offered by the French health and maternity insurance. The essential criterion to examine is that there must not be any health categories, products or benefits excluded from the policy…”
“It must be understood that « comparable » does not signify « identical », the CPAMs will appreciate with tolerance slight differences, the principle is to protect the persons themselves so that the medical acts is taken care of by the policy signed up and to avoid creating a load for the French public finances. “
NO financial LIMITS. CPAM has an UNLIMITED % reimbursement basis.
NO RESTRICTIONS or EXCLUSIONS for existing Health problems.
« SITUATION IRREGULIERE ». Loss of future French Social advantages.
As you can see we are back to square one!
Everyone has different needs and different backgrounds. I hope this has helped and I promise that it is not a sales technique but you should never trust an insurance salesman!
If anyone needs help I am available and my help is FREE.
You will find my site details in my personal info. If you do make an enquiry please make sure that you say you heard about us from the SFN.

I started with what was part of an insurance group who were the only ones selling pensions then in about 1972. It was bought up by a large UK group, that was bought up by somebody then somebody else and then Lehmans well before the collapse. When they went down a handful of years ago I could see the finishing line within a couple of years... I'll work until I drop and (my fortune) is that my OH is a couple of decades my junior, which with young children as well, is a relief. Enough of that, there are better things in the world...

I know. The same rule applies in Lux, however, we have our certificates from the pension people there detailing the fourteen years service and amount of hours worked.. Let's be honest, the state pension in the UK is pitiful though, so then they start with the private pensions and make a mess of some of those too. I think for the majority of people, foreseeing how much to put in, index it etc is a bit much. It is for me, and I am ex JPM and Brown Brothers... So when were you with Lehman then - I am assuming it was before they went under ?

Before I go to cook. My German bit was pre-EU for one but there was also a 10 year rule and guess what? I have only six years and eight months contributions so my entitlement is 0 unless I go there and work for three years and four months, which given I am 64 this year is unlikely. The rest, the private bit, as people have heard often enough was originally British, but after several international takeovers part of Lehman Brothers; so one day I may get my 5% or so compensation cheque... In short, take nothing for granted as well.

Thank you (again) Brian. You have got straight to the point. Through country swapping, we have left one system behind, however, we do still need some coverage !!! I now have a few options, just need to explore them all before signing up. Regarding our pensions, we are quite fortunate (I think). As long as we paid into the Lux system for a minimum of ten years, it is their responsibility to find us and subsequently pay it to us. However, as is the case in most countries, what we have paid in, probably will not amount to much when we reach retirement !!!

You're welcome!

Exactly, and I am sure 99% of us accept that without question. What I said somewhere else in response to Pam should actually include the fact that many of us, as is certainly my own case, with country swapping actually disadvantage ourselves. For instance, my state pension that I should begin to receive at the end of next year is next to nothing, not even a normal grocery shop for instance, and many other people experience the same or similar. So, given that the French are not expected to rush to our aid nor do they, we are hardly using, misusing or abusing the French or anybody else. Lives are like that and that is that. Nobody imagines you are scrounging but a fool I suspect. Gather whatever advice you find best and go for it quickly and be done with it. I wish you luck in your efforts.

Thank you Brian. The saying is true "You learn something new every day". Completely off tangent, the last thing I learnt was the origins of the Pavlova - educated by a Kiwi !!!

It is really beside the point to your question but Anglo derives of the German ethnic group known as the Angles (as in Anglo-Saxons) and phone is from the Greek 'ph![](upload://ilqo8wFC5i3HIs2zKZHq8GvqQny.gif)n![](upload://tW3RWsFLPhMI6p0YXNWtoalKk7E.gif)', meaning sound or voice - in short, English speaking. It has been used for roughly 120 years by linguists and certainly is both North American English and French as well. Volia, done and forgotten.

In my Collins Robert dictionary, published in 1993 in Paris, Anglophone exists. It is a French word. A word the French use to describe another who speaks English. Therefore it comes as no surprise to me that you are unable to find it in an American dictionary...

Thank you - yes, really that is all I want to do, pay for my health insurance, but I didn't know the names of any reputable companies to look at !!!