You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in France. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. If your illness requires regular treatment while you are temporarily staying abroad, contact the health care provider abroad in advance and agree on arranging the treatment. Treatments that need to be arranged in advance include, for example, dialysis, oxygen therapy, specialised care of asthma and chemotherapy as well as echocardiography in chronic autoimmune diseases.
You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals by presenting your European Health Insurance Card. It is advisable to carry copies of your European Health Insurance Card with you, along with the card itself. If you didn’t have your EHIC with you or it was not accepted, and you were required to pay all the costs of treatment yourself, you might be able to apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
Before accessing care, you should make sure that the service provider is contracted (conventionné) by the French healthcare system.
The contact information for the doctors (médecin conventionné) and the hospitals or clinics under contract within the French healthcare system is available from the local sickness funds (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie, CPAM) or on the Annuaire Santé website (in French). These funds can also be contacted to claim reimbursement for medical expenses.
In overseas territories of France, the primary sickness fund is the Caisse Générale de Sécurité Sociale. You can use your European Health Insurance Card in the following overseas territories of France: Mayotte, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin.
Before making an appointment with a doctor, ensure that the doctor is “conventionné”, that is, they have an agreement with the national healthcare system. At the doctor’s practice, you will pay for all of the treatment expenses yourself. There are two types of conventionné doctors: some charge according to the official social security rates (secteur 1), while others charge an additional payment on top of the official rate (secteur 2). In both cases, CPAM will cover a part of your medical expenses. The amount of reimbursement is fixed, which means that your share of the payment can vary depending on the doctor that you choose.
You will receive from the doctor a certificate (feuille de soins) that contains the information regarding the amount of payment. You need this certificate when applying for reimbursement from the local health fund i.e. CPAM. Complete the feuille de soins certificate you received and state your permanent address. Sign and date the feuille de soins treatment certificate and deliver it to the local health fund while you are still in France. Attach the prescriptions, a copy of the European Health Insurance Card (or a temporary certificate replacing the card), and your bank details (name of the bank, address, SWIFT code, account number and IBAN or BIC).
You can receive your prescription medicine from the pharmacy when you present the treatment certificate (feuille de soins) and prescription from the doctor. At the pharmacy, you pay for your medicine yourself and receive another certificate of treatment. Fill out the feuille de soins completely and state your permanent address. Also, state your bank details in the treatment certificate. Sign and date the feuille de soins treatment certificates and deliver them to the local health fund while you are still in France. Attach the prescriptions and a copy of the European Health Insurance Card (or a temporary certificate replacing the card). The amount of medicine reimbursements is calculated based on reference prices. Not all medicines are reimbursable. You pay for these medicines entirely yourself.
A doctor will provide you with a referral for hospital treatment. In case of urgent illness, you can go straight to a hospital. Show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card. In addition to a public hospital, you can also go to a private hospital or clinic as long as they have the conventionné contract. Note that anyone who goes to the emergency room but is not admitted to the hospital will be charged a flat fee.
Reimbursement for hospital treatment is 80 percent or in some cases 100 percent. The patient always pays the daily hospital fee and a separate fee for bigger procedures (daily treatment fee for hospital treatment, deductibles for certain treatment-related procedures, one-time payments for transportation to health care).
For outpatient care at a hospital clinic, you can apply for reimbursement from the sickness fund retrospectively, using a similar procedure as the one for doctor visits.
Ambulance transport in France is partly reimbursed in emergencies. The amount of reimbursement is usually 65 percent of the cost. However, the amount varies depending on the circumstances. For air ambulance transport, a doctor must confirm that an air ambulance is actually needed and advance permission from the local CPAM is also required.
If your illness requires you to use special transport when returning to Finland, you will be liable for the travel costs in their entirety. It is recommended to take out a travel insurance that covers these costs.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you want to travel to France to use healthcare services there, you should read our website for general information about seeking treatment abroad. If you have any questions about healthcare in France, contact the National Contact Point of France.
The social security liaison centre CLEISS (Centre des Liaisons Européennes et Internationales de Sécurité Sociale) provides detailed information concerning EU citizens’ healthcare in France.
You can search for healthcare service providers on the Annuaire Santé website (in French) that is maintained by the French health insurance institute. You can search for healthcare professionals (un professionnel de santé) or hospitals and other treatment facilities (un établissement de soins). You can also search according to locality and specialisation.
Quality and safety of treatment
All doctors operating in France are registered in the Medical Council of France (Le Conseil National de l’Ordre des Médecins). The council is responsible for the quality and safety of the treatment provided to patients. On the web page of the Council (in French), you can find information on the patient’s rights in France.
Healthcare service providers operating in France are responsible for publishing the quality and safety indicators that concern the treatment they provide. More information is available in French on the web page of Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) . The web page of the French National Contact Point also contains information concerning the regional and national quality control of the healthcare provided in the country
In the event of treatment injuries, the legislation and patient insurance of the country providing the treatment is always applied. In case you are unhappy with the treatment you received, you should primarily try to sort the matter out with the treatment provider. The national contact point can help you with finding the right authority if you wish to make a complaint. You can also find information about complaints and litigation in France on the website of the social security liaison centre CLEISS.
The French healthcare system is based on statutory health insurance (SHI) that has universal and compulsory coverage. Lists of procedures, drugs and medical devices covered under the SHI are defined at the national level. All health insurance companies serve through one national telephone switchboard, and the different service providers share the care responsibility. There are private (independent) physicians, public hospitals, private non-profit making hospitals and private profit-making hospitals.