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Q: Health cover in France for UK citizens ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Health cover in France for UK citizens
Category: Health > Seniors
Asked by: grandma9-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 23 Jun 2004 00:51 PDT
Expires: 23 Jul 2004 00:51 PDT
Question ID: 364927
We are UK residents, retired with a second home in France. My question
is about medical cover.  We use form E111 for stays in France up to 6
months.  We would like to stay in France for 1 year to 18 months.  Do
we apply for Carte Vitale? How will this affect our UK Health Service
when we return to UK? I also understand form E111 is to be replaced
this month? How will this affect us?
Subject: Re: Health cover in France for UK citizens
Answered By: leli-ga on 23 Jun 2004 05:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello grandma9

The good news is that you don't have to worry about form E111, since
it's not relevant for a longish stay in France.

The bad news is that this is fairly complicated, and you will have to
get another "E" form before you leave the UK, and then register with
the French CPAM.

Three months is the crucial length of time in EU rules about medical
treatment. Although you may continue to be a UK resident for some
purposes, you will be considered resident in France for healthcare.
(In theory, your British GP should have taken you off the list during
your previous six month stay in France!)

Before you go you must ask for the right forms from the DWP (Dept. of
Work and Pensions), previously known as the DSS.
If you are a pensioner, you will need form E121.
If you have retired before state pension age you need form E106.

Once you arrive in France for a stay of three months or more, you
should register with the nearest Caisse Primaire d?Assurance Maladie
(CPAM), taking your E121 or E106 with you as well as your passport and
proof of your UK address.

This will entitle you to the same treatment as other residents of
France. As you probably know, this means you are still liable for
about one third of the cost in most medical situations, so you will
need some kind of top-up insurance.

If you want a Carte Vitale to make payment easier, you may first need
to apply for a Carte de Séjour. Please see the website I quote below
which explains how the rules about this are in a transitional stage.

When you return to live in the UK, you will be entitled to NHS treatment again.

I hope the outline so far gives you a clear overview of the situation,
but I will also offer you excerpts below which should round out the
picture, as well as links leading to websites with more useful
information. Also, we have to point out that we can't act as official
"legal" advisers - see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

When you've had a chance to look all this over, please feel free to
ask if anything is still unclear and I'll do my best to help. (Just
make a 'clarification request'.)

Best wishes for your stay in France. At least you know the healthcare
will be good, once you've sorted out the paperwork!


Any person who leaves this country [the UK] to live abroad should be
removed from his or her GP list after 3 months.


How do I register?

When you arrive in France you should register with your local CPAM
(Caisse Primaire d?Assurance Maladie) office and provide them with any
forms you possess in respect of the reciprocal healthcare agreements
between the UK and the other EEA countries (eg. E106, E121 etc.) which
will exempt you from paying French Social Security contributions.

How does the French system work?

Unlike the NHS in the UK where treatment is free at the point of
delivery, in France you have to pay the healthcare provider up-front
and then be reimbursed.


On 1 January 2000 legislation came into force whereby it became
obligatory for all legal residents of France, irrespective of
nationality, to affiliate to the French health system.

If you are a EU national who comes to live in France then it is
possible to affiliate to the French health system via various E forms.
There are several of these forms but the two principal ones are E121
and E106. The most well known form is E111, which provides for
emergency medical treatment on temporary visits to another EU state.
E111 is invalid for permanent residents of France.

Along with any E form you must provide proof of residence in France.


Carte de séjour no longer required
EU citizens are entitled but it?s no longer a legal requirement
The French government passed the ?loi Zarkozy? on 26 November 2003. It
deals with immigration and amongst other things introduces important
changes to the carte de séjour (otherwise becoming known as titre de
séjour) system for French residents ID.

If you are an EU, EEE or Swiss citizen you no longer legally require a
carte de séjour to reside in France, provided you have alternative ID
(including proof of address) from your home country. For former UK
residents this is your passport plus a document such as an electricity
bill showing your address.


There are a number of other document applications (Carte Vitale, Carte
Grise etc) which, in some regions, have traditionally required the
production of a CDS. Well, now you can argue the toss with them and
quote the law, but you might prefer to have a CDS as a more widely
accepted and convenient form of French ID until all the processes
catch up with the new law.


If you are retiring to a country permanently you cannot rely on form
E111, which entitles travellers to free or cheaper emergency medical
treatment in most European countries and some non-European countries.

However, UK pensioners officially resident in another EU country will
have the same entitlement to state healthcare treatment as a national
in the country they are living in.

To receive this, you need to fill in form E121, available from the
Medical Benefits Section of the Pensions and Overseas Benefits


More on French healthcare system


General Information on Social Security and Health Care in France

Medical treatment in France can be expensive and the United Kingdom
Department of Social Security cannot give financial assistance towards
the costs of treatment incurred abroad by UK citizens. If you are not
covered through contributions to the French system or by EU Social
Security arrangements as set out below you should take out sufficient
private insurance to cover the full cost of any emergency. Those
covered under EU Social Security arrangements should take out some
private insurance (known as a Mutuelle in France) to cover the 20-30
per cent contribution normally required by the French Social Security
scheme towards the cost of treatment. This part of the cost of
treatment is the patient's personal responsibility and is not


Write to The Pension Service, Tyneview Park, to ask for form E121 as
soon as possible before you go. You will need a separate E121 form for
yourself and each member of your family. When you get them, give them
to the authorities who run the sickness insurance scheme in the
country where you live.


It is possible that you may have to pay into a sickness insurance
scheme in the other country. The sickness insurance authorities there
will be able to tell you if you have to do this. If you can, ask them
about this before you go to live there.


If you are going to live, but not work, in another EEA country, you
may get healthcare cover from the UK for yourself, and for any members
of your family who depend on you and who go with you, under the state
scheme of the other country. But this cover will only be for a limited
time. How long it lasts will depend on whether you could still get UK
short-term Incapacity Benefit if you claimed it. When this period
ends, the UK cannot give you any more healthcare cover unless anything
in sections 34-37 applies to you.

Before you move abroad, ask The Pension Service, Tyneview Park,
whether you meet the rules for form E106. Give the following
information about yourself and include the same details for your wife
or your husband if they also wish to apply for a form in their own

    * your full name and address in the UK;
    * your maiden name (if applicable);
    * your date of birth;
    * your nationality;
    * your UK National Insurance number;
    * the full name and postal address of everyone you have worked for
in the last two years;
    * the date on which you finished, or will finish, work;
    * the date when you leave the UK; and
    * whether you are going to find work abroad.

If you meet the rules for form E106 in your own right, but your wife
or husband does not and they depend on you, they may be covered as a
family member on your form E106. Tell The Pension Service, Tyneview
Park, if you think this applies in your case.

When you get forms E106, give them to the authorities who run the
sickness insurance scheme in the country where you live.


This is the address for applying for forms E121 or E106:

If you want to know more about benefits and related healthcare cover write to:
Department for Work and Pensions
The Pension Service
International Pension Centre
Tyneview Park
Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE98 1BA

When you write, please tell us:

    * your full name;
    * your date of birth; and
    * your National Insurance number (if you know it).

You can phone or fax The Pension Service, Tyneview Park, on:
tel: 0191 218 7777
fax: 0191 218 3836

If you are phoning or sending a fax from outside the UK, dial the
international code, then:
tel: 44 191 218 7777
fax: 44 191 218 3836

European Community (EC) Regulations on social security


Returning to the UK after a period of time living away?

If you go anywhere abroad for more than three months, either for a
one-off extended holiday for a few months or to live permanently for
several years, but then return to the UK to take up permanent
residence here again, then you will be entitled to receive free NHS
hospital treatment from the day you return. So will your spouse and
children (under the age of 16, or 19 if in further education) if they
are also living with you permanently in the UK again.


Are you a UK state pensioner spending more than 3 months living
outside the United Kingdom?

Are you spending more than 3 months living outside the United Kingdom?

Searches on

NHS resident UK
E111 France
Healthcare OR "medical treatment" UK France 
Register French healthcare
"living in France"  treatment OR healthcare 
Carte de séjour 
Carte Vitale 
Carte Vitale Carte de séjour
grandma9-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
What a surprise to have so much information, after weeks (if not
months) scratching around for crumbs of information from the Ministry
of Pensions/DHSS in the U.K.  Short of actually arranging our medical
cover, you have done everything possible to guide us through the
wilderness.  No-one seemed to know what the rules - old or new - are,
even staff at the DHSS I managed to collar in Newcastle.  Now we have
the facts, form numbers and methods of dealing with 'jobs-worths', I
am confident we will get the cover to which we are entitled.  Thank
you so much, Leli.  You are currently my favourite person.Grandma9.

Subject: Re: Health cover in France for UK citizens
From: leli-ga on 25 Jun 2004 02:54 PDT
Oh, thank-you very much, Grandma9.
It really makes my day to think you were so pleased with the help I could offer.
Your kind words, and tip, are hugely appreciated.
I hope you can keep on fighting through the bureaucracy, and
thoroughly enjoy your extended stay in France.

Have a great time - Leli
Subject: Re: Health cover in France for UK citizens
From: claire1-ga on 30 Dec 2004 07:54 PST
I too have had a nightmare with the DoH and Newcastle lot trying to
get information.
This information has been helpful, but I wonder if anyone can offer
further advice? I live in Geneva with my partner, but I work in London
(and pay UK tax and NI). Since I am not resident in the UK I can only
access emergency treatment there. I am apparently not entitled to an
E106 since I have not been 'sent' by my UK employer to work here, and
an E111 only covers emergency care. I am pregnant and need to access
healthcare. It is feasible to travel to France for care (since
Switzerland is only EEA). Am I able to access care in France and if
so, how?

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