Everyone who lives and/or works in France is required to have health insurance. In fact, it’s treated as a fundamental right in the Constitution with the Preamble stating that the Nation “shall guarantee to all, notably to children, mothers and elderly workers, protection of their health….” When applying for our visa that allowed us to stay here during the first year we had to prove that we had health insurance coverage that would take care of any emergency situations plus pay for sending us back to the US for treatment of anything serious and/or long term during the one-year validity of our visa. A common benefit of travel insurance is repatriation to the country where your trip began, so a policy for that was easy to find and accepted for the visa application. Once you’ve lived in France for at least 3 continuous months you become eligible to apply for Protection Universelle Maladie that we think of as universal health care and we have now been accepted. Read the rest of this entry
If there’s one thing that you learn when you move overseas, it’s to be prepared. Whether it’s a government agency, a utility, or a private business you are meeting with, it always makes sense to take an original and at least one copy of any document that any of these officials have asked from you before. To open a bank account we anticipated the need for our passports and proof of address but a marriage certificate and tax forms weren’t at the top of our list. Luckily both were at the bottom of the file folder that we take to every appointment so it was easy enough to produce those. To cancel our prepaid renters’ insurance, we needed a handwritten statement swearing that we no longer lived at that address, but at least we could write that out on the spot (with a lot of guidance from the woman who helped us). What we weren’t prepared for was receiving a refund check for the remaining insurance that we weren’t going to use. How were we going to deal with that? Read the rest of this entry
A couple of days ago I wrote about our first experience of going to a doctor in France and this is the follow up to that. Although we both have been going in for annual check ups in the US for years, that’s apparently not really the norm here. Your employer might require, and pay for, this kind of visit, but our neighbors have said that typically they see the doctor only if they are sick. We were still going to be more comfortable if we were at least in the files of a medical office near us, even if just to have a “no problems found” status. Read the rest of this entry
Going to the doctor has never been at the top of my favorite-things-to-do list. Luckily, those visits have almost always been limited to an annual physical where the cost was covered by my health insurance. Just before we moved from the US to France we each had one of those yearly exams and as our first year anniversary of living in another country approached it was time to do it all over again. This has been quite the learning experience. Read the rest of this entry
We finally broke down and opened a French bank account. We’d been resisting it since our arrival here for a couple of reasons. In the US we were spoiled with free banking of all sorts: accounts, checks, savings, ATM cards, transfers, toaster-ovens (!), even seed-money given to you as a new customer. Once we got to Europe we found an online German bank that offered much the same at that same low price: zero. Not so in France. Read the rest of this entry
The French word for insurance is assurance and I can assure you that we’ve been trying to buy some ever since we arrived. Because of rental laws here, apartment and house leases usually run for 3 years and you are required to have renter’s coverage for that whole time. Our place is furnished so we don’t fall under those same rules but we still felt it was important to be covered, especially since our own household goods have arrived. Trying to get an insurance company to accept our money has not been easy. Read the rest of this entry
When applying for your initial long-stay visa for your first year in France and then to remain staying in the country beyond that, you must prove that you have health insurance for your whole stay. This is one of those items that differs from one consulate to another. One will simply state that you must have health insurance while another will be very specific telling you, for example, that there must be a zero deductible with a minimum $50,000 coverage with expatriation to the US included. Some will even list the names of insurance companies that they will accept.
There are two types of insurance that might satisfy this requirement based on the needs of your consulate. Traditional travel insurance that you would get to cover a canceled vacation, lost luggage, car rental damage waiver, etc. often includes adequate medical coverage including repatriation and can often be bought to cover a trip of 364 days. Read the rest of this entry