There has been a lot of speculation over whether Brits will be able to access French healthcare after Brexit. Thankfully, we have some reassuring news! The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is being replaced with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This means that Brits travelling to France, and indeed all EU countries, will still be able to receive free, or cheaper, state-provided medical care.
Don’t worry though, your EHIC will remain valid until it expires. Then, you can apply for the new free GHIC.
What does the GHIC cover?
The GHIC will entitle you to basic state healthcare. It will cover things like emergency treatment and A&E trips, treatment for chronic or pre-existing medical conditions, routine medical or maternity care, and oxygen and kidney dialysis.
If you are ready to buy in France as soon as travel restarts, call our friendly France Resource Team on 020 7898 0549 or email [email protected]
Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that you may still have to pay for things in the EU that you would usually get for free in the UK. In France, state healthcare in France is not completely free and healthcare costs are covered by both the state and through patient contributions. It’s wise to ensure that you’re clued up about how much you’ll have to pay and how much should be reimbursed.
The British government still advises Brits to take out travel insurance that includes healthcare. The GHIC will not cover you for private medical healthcare or other costs, such as mountain rescue or repatriation.
Healthcare for permanent residents
These cards are handy for those who are going to visit their holiday home or going to France for a holiday. However, if you are moving there permanently, you should register with the French healthcare system.
You must have health insurance cover to live in France permanently. You can apply to be covered by the French healthcare system (‘PUMa’) if you have been a resident in France for at least 3 months. If you’re employed in France, you can apply as soon as you start work.
Once registered, you’ll get a social security card, called a ‘Carte Vitale’, which you should take with you whenever you visit a doctor, pharmacy or specialist provider.
If you are a retiree – with French residency – who receives a UK State pension, then you can access UK-funded healthcare using an S1 form.