What kind of coverage do international students need in France?
Students wishing to carry out part of their studies in France must register in the student social security scheme, except in special circumstances.
There are a number of conditions to be met before students can benefit from the student social security scheme: an academic condition (students must be registered at a post-secondary institution recognized by the student scheme) and a residence condition (students must be legal residents in France).
The situation will then depend on the student’s age and country of origin.
Registration with student social security takes effect at the time of registration at the post-secondary establishment.
The registration fees (207 Euros for the 2012-2013 academic year) will be paid at the same time as tuition fees. They will then be transferred to the URSSAF (Unions de recouvrement des cotisations de sécurité sociale et d’allocations familiales), the French organization responsible for collecting social security contributions.
Students are not eligible to benefit from student social security if their stay in France will be less than three months long:
- in this case, students must obtain private health insurance and provide a French translation of the policy, which must cover all risks for the entire duration of the stay in France, without pricing restrictions;
- students from European Union countries can present their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), provided they request the card before their departure, and therefore not be required to take out a private health insurance policy.
Conditions for eligibility for student social security
To take advantage of France’s social security system, students must be less than 28 years of age. The reporting period is the academic year, which runs from October 1st of the current year to September 30th of the following year.
- For students younger than 28 years old (as of October 1st of the academic year in question) from non-EU countries, registration is obligatory.
- for students younger than 28 years old from EU countries or Switzerland, social security registration is not necessary if the student has a European Health Insurance Card (issued in the student’s country of origin and valid for the entire academic year);
- in the this case, the student must report to the nearest Caisse d’assurance maladie (CPAM) with his or her European Health Insurance Card in order to have healthcare expenses reimbursed as per the French social security reimbursement scheme.
- students older than 28 years of age as of October 1st, regardless of their country of origin, are not eligible to benefit from student social security, except in exceptional cases, and are therefore required to register for the general scheme through the CPAM.
- For international students aged 28 or older from non-European Union countries, it is mandatory to obtain private insurance for the first three months of residence, as the CPAM will not cover this period.
For students from Quebec with a form provided for by France-Quebec agreements
- In light of existing reciprocity agreements between the French Sécurité sociale and the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, students from Quebec are not required to register for student social security;
- students must report to the closest CPAM to their place of residence with the necessary forms;
- in the event of illness, students will have their healthcare expenses covered as per the French social security reimbursement scheme.
Supplementary health insurance coverage
- Supplementary health insurance, acquired from an insurance company or a mutual insurance company, can be used to complement reimbursement from social security by accounting for the remaining percentage of costs;
- in France, student social society organizations offer different additional health insurance options (student mutual medical insurance) specifically designed for international students, depending on the student’s individual situation;
- Complementary mutual health insurance offers a number of coverage options, including annual plans for preventative care, and the possibility of benefiting from a third-party payer (fees not paid in advance) at the pharmacy or in the event of hospitalization in an institution recognized by the chosen supplemental insurance or liability insurance.
- based on certain residence and resource criteria, students depending on the CPAM may benefit from the Aide à l’acquisition d’une complémentaire santé (ACS), a service that helps individuals acquire supplemental insurance. Students should inquire about this assistance from their local social security centre.
- students must have their own bank accounts in order to receive reimbursed medical costs;
- students are also recommended to obtain an attending physician’s statement from a general practitioner in order to register with the French healthcare system.