Departing abroad It can be a source of pressure in terms of covering medical expenses in the event of a health problem. Many countries abroad do not offer as effective health coverage as our Social Security, and the fear of coming back with big bills is real. Fortunately, health insurance on terms ensures that you maintain liability and reimburse some of your most urgent costs.
Before you leave: check your European Health Insurance Card
The best way to prepare for unpleasant surprises during your trip is to take all the usual precautions to make sure you are responsible for any medical expenses. For travel within the European Union, it is essential that you check if your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid. It makes it possible to cover your necessary and urgent medical expenses in all EU countries, according to the legislation of the country you are visiting.
If you do not benefit from your Ceam or if it has expired, submit your application to your health insurance fund within fifteen days at most before your departure. Nominal and issued without the necessary proof, it is valid for a maximum of two years, provided that your rights to health insurance do not expire in the meantime. Also take the time to learn about the medical expenses and health coverage in the country you are going to, especially the remaining costs. The European and International Social Security Contact Center (Cleiss) collects all the necessary information on this topic on its website. Finally, check what your insurance contract provides for health accidents abroad and get travel insurance if necessary.
What is travel coverage in Europe?
The CEAM (or Temporary Replacement Certificate if your application is still being processed) guarantees your rights to health insurance and your care in accordance with the reception and treatment procedures in the country you are visiting. Concretely, this means that you will not have to pay the amount of medical expenses you will claim immediately if applicable legislation allows it. In the opposite case where you have to pay the claimed amount, Ceam allows you to reimburse directly from the social security organization in the country where you reside.
If your Ceam is lost or stolen, you can contact your health insurance fund by phone (+33-184-90-36-46) or by logging into your Ameli account. Finally, if you have paid for non-reimbursable medical expenses on-site or if you request private treatment, Ceam allows you to start the process of reimbursing for treatment abroad upon your return. On your Ameli account, provided you keep all medical bills and receipts to present as evidence.
What is the coverage of flights to the rest of the world?
If you are traveling to a country that is not part of the European Economic Area (except Switzerland), medical expenses may be covered, but the scope of Social Security’s intervention is very limited. Health insurance only covers medical procedures that are considered urgent and unexpected. Unlike European countries, you will not be able to benefit from coverage by your local social security organization, and therefore you will have to pay for the medical expenses incurred.
Only when you return to France will you be able to contact your health insurance fund to be able to benefit from a refund (make sure to keep all supporting documents and any invoice to be sent). However, there is a special case for binational citizens who go on vacation to their country of origin. If this is the case, check that there is no social security agreement between France and your country of origin, one that contains provisions for coverage on a case-by-case basis. In this case, contact your health insurance fund before you leave to familiarize yourself with the scope of these provisions and the necessary administrative procedures.
Special cases of professional secondment
If you are required to stay abroad for an extended period for professional reasons, certain provisions may apply to your health coverage. Deploying workers, for example Continue to benefit from the French social security system for a variable period depending on the country in which you reside: you retain your rights for one year if you are sent to a country in the European Economic Area or to Switzerland, for three years (renewable once) in other countries, including So those that signed the Social Security Agreement with France. After this period, your status automatically switches to the optional insurance scheme for foreign workers.
expatriates, no longer contributes to the French Health Insurance Fund, and therefore can only benefit from social security coverage if they obtain voluntary insurance from the Caisse des Français de l’étranger. Finally, social protection for students traveling abroad for an academic year also depends on the place of residence, but is often incomplete. Therefore students are strongly encouraged to take out specific student travel insurance.
(by HREF Editorial Board)