I always advise my British clients to contact the NHS (overseas department) before relocating to France in order to apply for the necessary documents to get into the French Health System. You need to apply for a S1. This document can take a while to come through so it is best to apply for it before moving to France. Please note you can only apply for a S1 if you are a UK resident and if you are RETIRED.
Once it is in your possession, visit your local CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie). Your local mairie will be able to give you the address of the local branch. As the French love their paperwork, always carry with you for the 6 months following your move to France your passport, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and a proof of address (phone, EDF or water bill) with you The CPAM office will also need your bank details. It is called a RIB (Relevé d’identité bancaire). Your French bank will supply you with several RIB when you open a French bank account but if you require more just ask your bank, they will print some more for you. You can also find one in your cheque book.
Once you are registered it will take a while for you to receive your Carte Vitale but in the meantime you will get a proof of your registration called “attestation”. Carry this paperwork with you all the time. I always advise my British clients to copy it and keep a copy in their hand bag, wallets and glove box of the car. Emergencies can happen anytime! The doctor, dentist, chemist and any other practitioners and healthcare specialists will ask for the attestation. Once you’ve received your Carte Vitale keep the attestation in your file. It will be handy to have if you lose your Carte Vitale.
You will then have to register with a doctor of your choice (médecin traitant). You will have to send a new “Déclaration de choix du médecin traitant” each time you decide to change doctors. Those forms can be picked up from the CPAM or you will find one online by visiting this site here.
If you arrive in France and are not officially retired or employed in France you will have to visit your local CPAM and apply for PUMa. Take the following documents with you: passport, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and a proof of address (phone, EDF or water bill). The CPAM office will also need your bank details. It is called a RIB (Relevé d’identité bancaire).
If you are self-employed, you won’t have to register with CPAM. Where you register to pay your health and social charges will depend on what professional activity you have. This information will be given to you on registering your business.
Registering can be long but it is worth it.
Remember: the French healthcare service is one of the best in the world, offering a wide choice of general practitioners and healthcare specialists!
If you need any assistance with registering with the French Health System, don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be pleased to help.