Complementary health insurance

French state health insurance (‘Assurance Maladie’), also known as social security, does not cover all medical costs, and the reimbursement rate varies depending on the type of care.
To supplement the reimbursements paid by social security, it is highly recommended to take out complementary health insurance, known as a “mutuelle”.
Even though it is not compulsory, it provides you with better cover, in particular if you are hospitalized.

Taking out complementary health insurance

To take out this complementary health insurance, you must:
  • be registered for French state health insurance (‘Assurance Maladie’),
  • or have a European Health Insurance Card,
  • or have a RAMQ form (students from Quebec).
Many companies offer complementary health insurance, and you are free to choose your own private insurance company or non-profit insurer.
Therefore, do not hesitate to request estimates and take the time to compare the various offers according to your needs.

If you stay in France for one year or less and do not have specific health needs (glasses, dental care, etc.), the minimum cover may be sufficient for you.

If you are a student, student insurance providers have low-cost offers.

If you are an employee of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, there are special offers that apply; find out more from your human resources department.
And visit the website of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research for more information.

If you have limited resources, and you are registered for French health insurance (‘Assurance Maladie’), you can apply to the health insurance organization (“CPAM”) in your place of residence for supplementary health insurance through the supplementary universal health care coverage program (“Complémentaire santé solidaire”).
Several criteria will be taken into account, including your financial resources (in France and abroad) and your family situation.
You will know if your request has been accepted within 2 months of making your application.
If your request is accepted, your entitlement to the “Complémentaire santé solidaire” will remain in place for 1 year following the 1st day of the month that follows the date of acceptance.
If you have come to France accompanied by your spouse or your children, you must make a single request for the entire household.
> Download the form "Demande de Complémentaire santé solidaire" from the CPAM health insurance organization website
> For more information, visit the website of the CPAM health insurance organization
> List of organizations that can manage the Complémentaire santé solidaire (enter your city of residence, Grenoble or Valence)

Cost of complementary health insurance

The cost depends on your contract and the level of cover you choose.
As an indication, student insurance providers have offers ranging from around €6 to €40 per month, whereas for an employed researcher, offers start at around €40, and can exceed €100 per month depending on your family situation.

The cost of supplementary universal health care (“Complémentaire santé solidaire”) depends on your financial resources and your age, and may be free of charge.
> For more information about the cost of this cover, visit the CPAM state health insurance organization website

Rate of reimbursement from complementary health insurance

Complementary health insurance reimburses a varying proportion of the outstanding amount that you are required to pay after being reimbursed by the state health insurance provider (social security).
Reimbursements vary depending on the contract you choose and the type of care involved.
Good to know
Once you have taken out your health insurance policy, you may be subject to a waiting period (called a “délai de carence”), during which certain services are not reimbursed.
Published on  January 7, 2021
Updated on September 22, 2022