Guide to Doctors, Dentists & Healthcare in France

Originally posted on & updated on 17th February, 2024

France boasts a healthcare system that is highly acclaimed throughout Europe. Patients can avail themselves of the country’s exceptional medical services, which are partially funded by the government. However, individuals are required to pay the difference between the amount of state funding and the actual cost of the treatment they receive. This means that patients may still be required to pay for a portion of their medical expenses out of pocket. Despite this, the French healthcare system remains amongst the best in the world, offering top-tier medical care to its citizens.

It is advisable to acquire additional insurance or private medical coverage to avoid being caught in a costly medical emergency. Upon arrival in France, and for the first three months of living there you will need your EHIC, or GHIC, to pay for your medical care. After this time, you can register for a French health card known as carte vitale with the CPAM. To help you obtain the best medical cover for you and your family, we offer an English speaking health care insurance quotation service.

French Doctors

When you enrol in the French healthcare system, it is highly recommended that you register with a local doctor. This will ensure that you have access to regular medical check-ups and can quickly address any health concerns that may arise. However, finding a doctor with available appointments can be challenging, especially in certain areas. In such cases, some mutuelle providers offer medical consultancy services as part of their insurance packages. These services can provide you with access to qualified medical professionals who can offer advice, answer your questions, and guide you towards the appropriate medical care if needed.

You will be required to pay upfront whenever you see your doctor – it’s usually around €25, however, it is a legal requirement for each GP to display their prices. You will be automatically reimbursed a percentage of the fee by the state health insurance provider, however, the remaining amount must be paid by yourself, or your mutuelle if you have opted to take a top up cover.

If you are looking for the right healthcare and medical insurance cover for your family, we offer a  personalised healthcare insurance and top up health service to help you find the package that best suits your requirements.

Women’s Healthcare

Gynaecologists are available through France’s public health insurance, the French call them ‘ginéco’. You can access the database of gynaecologists.

In France, having a baby is relatively affordable thanks to the public health insurance program. The public health insurance covers all expenses for the first twelve days spent in a public hospital. If the mother is discharged within five days, she is entitled to home visits from a midwife, which is also covered by the insurance.

However, if you prefer to deliver in a private hospital, it is essential to obtain healthcare insurance. Prices can reach up to 5,000 EUR in fees alone, so it’s important to be prepared.

Abortion is legal up until twelve weeks in the pregnancy in France. However, later stage terminations are possible if two physicians confirm that the birth puts the child or mother at severe risk of incurable illness or death. Contraception is readily available in France and around 65% of costs are reimbursed. Routine breast cancer and cervical cancer is also available.

To prevent any unexpected costs taking you by surprise you might want to obtain some healthcare and medical insurance to cover you and your family for all eventualities. If you would like help to obtain the best health insurance package for you and your family’s needs.

Children’s Health Care

Children’s healthcare is free through the public health insurance of their parent or guardian. When you move to France you can request a health booklet from your local Mairie or Centre de protection maternelle et infantile (PMI).

There are 20 compulsory medical visits for children up to the age of six. France also has a detailed vaccination schedule for children aged from 0 to 13 and for children born after 1 January 2018, vaccinations are mandatory for:

•    diphtheria
•    tetanus
•    polio
•    whooping cough
•    Hemophilus influenzae B
•    hepatitis B
•    meningococcus C
•    pneumococcus
•    measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

It is advisable to opt for top-up health cover to help at the very least cover all costs related to hospitalisation for your child.  Complete the form so we can help you to get the perfect healthcare cover for you and your family.

Hospitals in France

France has two types of hospitals – the state run hopitaux and cliniques which are privately run, doctors can refer patients to either. The French public healthcare reimburses most of the costs for hospital charges, however, patients are expected to pay a daily fee for ‘board and lodging’. Again, mutuelle top-up insurance is advisable to cover at the least, all the costs related to hospitalisation.

Dentists & Dental Treatment

Routine dental services used to be covered up to 70% by the French healthcare insurance, however, this has recently changed. From October 2023, dental care procedures will be covered by Health Insurance at 60%. If you are covered by complementary health insurance and the contract options you have taken out provides for it, the “mutuelle” insurance will reimburse you for the difference.

Additional dental services such as crowns and braces are usually quite high so it is recommended that you opt for a top-up insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances, especially if you have fast growing children are you think may require specialist work done on their teeth during their teenage years with specialist orthodontic treatments such as braces, twin-blocks etc…

Pharmacies/Chemists in France

France is abundant with pharmacies which are full of incredibly well qualified and knowledgeable pharmacists. If you fall ill, it is often recommended that you go to your pharmacy for advice. Prescriptions have different rates of reimbursement based on the type of medicine you require.

Here’s a fun fact – pharmacists in France are trained to identify certain fungi. If you go foraging and would like to check your collection, your pharmacist will be able to identify the poisonous varieties for you, free of charge!

We provide personalised insurance coverage for you and your family’s healthcare needs in France, request a quote today.

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