How to join the French healthcare system

We are extremely lucky in France to have one of the best healthcare system in the world.

If you are retired,  the few steps below will help you to join the French healthcare system.


In order to register with your local social security office ( CPAM ) you will be required to submit a certain amount of documents listed below:


. An S1 form: this form will be given to you by the department of health and social security in England.

. A birth certificate translated

. A household bill in your name to prove your address in France

. Your passport

. Your bank details for your reimbursements


Once your application has been approved, you will be given a temporary number, followed a few weeks later by an application for a Carte Vitale. ( A health ID card which has your photo and personal number and is presented to the doctor or pharmacy at every visit)


Your registration will start at the date of your original application.

In order to get a full cover, it is important to designate a doctor who will look after you and refer you to any specialists if needed.


How does it work?

In general terms, CPAM pays 70% of your costs, the 30% are met by a top up health insurance or by yourself if you decide not to subscribe to one.

The reimbursements are sent automatically to your account on presentation of your “carte vitale”: it triggers a message to CPAM and once their payment has been sent, they also send a message to your top up insurance so that they can settle their part of the reimbursement. This is all automatic and should involve very little paperwork.


For information or a quotation for a top up health insurance, please send us an email or fill in the online form.

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