Your health insurance abroad

When you go abroad, you might lose your entitlement to Social Security benefits. We would recommend you check before you leave and find the right international health insurance for your needs.

Why take out health insurance?

  1. You will no longer have Social Security cover

Once you leave French territory and move abroad, you lose your entitlement to French Social Security (unless you are on secondment). It may be that your Health Insurance Fund agrees to cover some of your healthcare costs at first. However, reimbursements will be based on what you would have been reimbursed for treatment in France (€16 for a consultation, regardless of the amount you were actually charged) and you might wait months to receive your reimbursement. In any case, you will need to pay for healthcare upfront and claim your reimbursement afterwards.

  1. Credit card insurance is inadequate

Your credit card provides insurance for your stay but the cover on offer is limited. You will only get a cash advance if your need for treatment is unexpected and if you have first made a call to the contact centre which manages your credit card insurance to get their agreement. The cover acts as a top-up to Social Security benefits and there will be an excess to pay. You will therefore need to contact Social Security to get a reimbursement.

In short, a complicated process that could be avoided by opting for proper international health insurance.

  1. Healthcare systems abroad are very different from France

Did you know:

  • hospitalisation in the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars?
  • depending on the country, access to public sector care can take several weeks?
  • some hospitals will ask for a credit card before starting your treatment?
  • the local health infrastructure in some countries often makes expatriates turn to very expensive private clinics?

And, unlike in France, you will find it difficult to get insurance once you are ill.

What does international health insurance cover?

You can choose between several levels of cover tailored to your needs and your budget.

You can opt for hospitalisation only or more comprehensive cover including all of the following:

  • hospitalisation in the event of accident, illness or childbirth,
  • consultations with GPs and specialists,
  • pharmacy items,
  • medical examinations (x-rays, tests),
  • medical auxiliaries (physiotherapists),
  • prevention (vaccines, screening),
  • dental treatment, dentures and implants,
  • optical care.
Date of publication May 7, 2012

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