This change is not exclusive to France as other EU countries including Spain and Portugal have also recently adopted this directive.
So how will it affect you ? As it stands at the moment the situation is as follows:
- If you are over the legal retirement age (60 for a woman & 65 for men) then you are completely unaffected, as part of reciprocal agreement between EU member states the UK E121 guarantees this.
- If you are under the legal retirement age, working legally and continue working in France (at least 60 hrs per month) and have been paying cotisations (Similar to NI contributions) you will be unaffected.
- If you are under legal retirement and are not working, but currently hold a valid UK E106 you will continue to be covered by this until its expiry (depending on your UK NI contribution levels it will cover up 2 Years) but after its expiry you will be in a situation where you need to purchase private health care until you reach the legal retirement age and the E121 kicks in. Private healthcare for a couple in their mid-fifties will cost around €300 per month depending on the level of cover you require.
- If you are under the legal retirement age, and are not covered by the E106 because its expired then you will need to purchase private health care until you reach the legal retirement age and the E121 takes over. Even if you have voluntarily been paying cotisations and currently hold a Carte Vitale (French health service card) you will still need to purchase private healthcare. Securite sociale confirmed (24/09/07) that expatriates who are already in the French healthcare will continue to be covered by the French health service system until 31st March 2008 to enable them to find a suitable private policy to cover their healthcare needs from this date.
- If you are planning on permanently moving to France new arrivals will now have to register with their Marie (Town Hall) within 3mths of arriving, and provide evidence that they have medical coverage from either an E106, E121 or a private healthcare policy as well as evidence of sufficient financial resources to live on after which you will then be given a Certificate of residence.
One thing that still remains unclear is what the situation will be if one of the couple is at state retirement age and the other is not. We know that if the husband has reached state retirement age and has an E121 that the wife will automatically be eligible for a carte vitale, but if the wife has reached state retirement age but the husband has not it is still unclear as to whether the French government will be willing to accept that the husband is a dependant of the wife and be issued with a carte vitale. Another point that has not been confirmed is what the situation regarding access to the state healthcare system would be if an Expatriate was to gain French citizenship which can be applied for after 5 years of uninterrupted residency.
Useful Telephone numbers
CPAM - The French Health Service (English language service): +33 8 20 90 42 12
CLEISS - (France's helpdesk for international mobility and social security):
11 rue de la tour des Dames
75436 Paris cedex 09
Tel: +33 1 45 26 33 41 www.cleiss.fr
DWP Overseas Medical Benefits line (+44 191 218 1999) (Monday to Friday 8am-8pm)
International Pension Centre
Department for Work and Pensions
Newcastle upon Tyne NE98 1BA
or for press enquiries: Department of Health Press Office: +(44) 207 210 5221
The Securite Sociale statement can be read in French here: www.securite-sociale.fr.
Provided by Steven Grover, English Chartered Institute of Insurance qualified expatriate based in Troyes. For further information, have a look at www.financialexpat.com . If you have a question, want to arrange for a free financial review or just want further information you can contact Steve on +33 (0)325461631 or at .