Top Up Health Insurance - To buy or not to buy?


I am new to both SFN and to blogging, so forgive me if I go wrong!

I thought I would pass on some thoughts about French Top Up insurance and why I would definitely recommend that you take it up.

We moved to France May 2012 and before coming over we obtained our S1 documents from the UK Government so that we could obtain state based health care as though we were french nationals. We received our temporary social security numbers after several problems and found that we were being reimbursed for the main part of the health care, despite having not received our Carte Vitales. A visit to the local office got us equipped with the Attestations of our rights on paper.

As soon as we received them I researched top up insurance and found a very helpful lady who spoke English and could sort us out. They were not worried that we did not have our Carte Vitales as long as we had the Attestation.

So, we took out the insurance on 8th November (yes it took that long and Hubby still has not got his actual card!). We opted to go for full cover on hospitalisation and day to day medicines etc. This was mainly due to us both being bikers (if we had an accident it was likely to end up in hospital!) and we were both on medication, the monthly bill for us being 100 euros, so top up insurance of £65 a month was a saving.

Less than 2 months after taking out the insurance Hubby was rushed to hospital with suspected meningitis after having had a constant headache for 3 days. What was supposed to be a one night stay in hospital for a MRI scan turned into a 6 week stay in the Neurology ward at Tours Bretonneau hospital. As they did not know what was wrong they undertook the following:

  • 3 MRI scans

  • 2 CT scans

  • Radioactive CT Scan

  • 70 - 80 blood samples

  • Laparoscopy

  • Lumber punch / Spinal Tap

  • Saliva gland sample

  • 21 Xrays

  • Blood Patch

  • Blood platelette transfusion

  • Eye Test

  • Urine tests

  • 5 day course of IV Cortisone Steroids

  • IV Morphine drip

  • Consultation with 5 consultants from other areas of expertise

I hate to think of how much this little lot would have cost us. I know the room cost 40 euros a night and the blood samples were also 40 euros each. Our insurance provider paid the lot up front so we had nothing to worry about where this was concerned. Hubby is now recuperating at home and is well on the mend.

All I can say is thank goodness we had the cover. So for those of you who are wondering if it is worth it - just think of the worst case scenario and ask yourself if you are prepared to risk it?

What a nightmare for you at the time! Glad to hear all has worked out and hubby is on the mend. We too had a bit of difficulty in obtaining our carte vitales, but have them now and have arranged our mutuelle, so we are covered should anything happen.