France reverses decision to deny expats state health cover

by Ray Clancy on September 9, 2010

British expats in France who lost their right to benefit from the French state health system have won it back in a landmark decision.

Thousands of Brits who retired early and moved to France had budgeted for the fact that they would be able to access the state health system when their UK cover with the E106 ran out after two and a half years.

Last September though, the French authorities said that British people, and other European Union nationals, could no longer access the state system if they had no social security cover from working in France and would have to take out private health insurance.

This caused a lot of worry as health insurance for this age group is expensive and those with long-term problems cannot always get sufficient cover. Also the move came at a time when pensions from the UK were effectively diminishing in value due to Sterling becoming weaker against the Euro. Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes were facing huge bills and many feared they would have to sell up and return to the UK.

The French government said the changes were the result of an EU directive on residency.

In November, however, following pressure from expats and British officials, France made a concession to allow anyone already receiving state health cover by November 23 to continue doing so. But it refused to allow anyone not in the system by that date to join.

This left at least 7,500 Britons living in France facing a financial crisis. The sudden retroactive legislation was deemed grossly unfair by the British community in France. Many, including cancer and diabetes patients, had given up their homes and private health cover back home.

Now the British Embassy announced it had received a letter from Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, the French health minister, announcing that any Briton who immigrated to France before November 23, 2007, whether or not in the French health system before that date, can now access it. Only those moving to France after that date would not qualify.

‘This news comes as a huge relief for many British expats living in France. These so called reforms were totally unnecessary. I am glad the French government has backtracked,’ said Mary Honeyball, a British MEP who submitted a written declaration in the European Parliament condemning the French move.

French Health Issues, an expat lobby group that has spearheaded the fight, said it has been ‘quite and achievement’ to get the change of mind.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaques October 6, 2010 at 9:08 am

Well well!!…France has been the destination of a whole range of Brits, from complete scumbags many metamorphasising into "real estate agents" naturally unqualified but "naturally" superior to the French who spent 4 years at study! What astuff up that has been yet I have met Brits who just "adore" some of the crooks who came to the notice of police in places like Limoges and Rochechouart.So many rort the French medical system I have seen a pommie doctor in tears at their voracious plundering demanding "at least a dozen scrips or they'll go elsewhere"…that was Provence.Then we have the snotty little retiree or parasite upstarts from midrange areas like London, Salisbury and Kent which not only bludge on the system (at french expense all of it) for expensive attention such as "colonic irrigation" (are you still alive Mrs Penny) but find ways to get free trips for 10 days into fabulously expensive Swiss clinics. (entertainment continues)

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Jaques October 6, 2010 at 9:10 am

2) England wanted to run the EU because France already did. Like some ageing dilitante it needed some indication it is still sexy enough to not only seduce the French but make demands for "relief"..in this case of its financial burden…why not dump it on the french??

As thousands of its subjects headed for France and the good life the French found themselves paying for this "one foot in the EU" rouges old tart, mother Palmer and her numerous daughters.The French already broke objected and pulled the plug so the oh so reticent English went over their heads, now conciering itself an accredited and contributing member …bad luck about the last 30 years of Pommie pirates raiding the french medical system!….now it has it legally for pre2007'ers. You wrote " Many, including cancer and diabetes patients, had given up their homes and private health cover back home"…well why should the french taxpayer pay for these so often non productive bludgers who so often also demean and sniff at "the french",

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Jaques October 6, 2010 at 9:11 am

3) too lazy to even learn the language or join in the culture or like Mr EdwardEs (note the extra "E" becoming even more French than the French……but nothing can change such a person from being the wanker he was and always will be. I write as usual with a smile but I am quite straight up about bludgers whether Pomms in France (naturally few French by comparison choose UK to live so the Brit Politicians would have high-fived over this victory over the french taxpayer.) or any one of several nationalities in Australia,. They have to travel far more than a couple of hours to get to cheap housing, free medical and perhaps a pension.In Australia you have to be sponsored and supported for mediacal and other for 2 years minimum to get there. Now I know there are good pomms and Aussies in France however this nationalist victory over the already struggling French is the pits….why doesn't the English Government pick up the tab,after all the French medical system and surgeons are not only affordable by the Aristocracy or some Eton waffler but available to one and all as much as can be.

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Jaques October 6, 2010 at 9:12 am

4) For all the bellyaching that comes from Britain and the USA about "Commos" they both find it very comfortable when they find the communal society of France holds so many advantages they want to never leave…but like all golden eggs they don't even want realise that the 60 million oises who work hard and with skill and energy to give them life, have a finite taxation system. "Why worry about that though..they are only bloody froggies mate..not soccer hoodlums and masters of empire like us, they ought to be PROUD to make our lives a treat…..they better get their act together eh!! because all my friends who got here post 2007 will need free medicines so we'd better make that 18 scrips each visit and I should be able to buy a barn with a couple of other families to store it all in for under 10,000 quid, Voila!

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Farmer October 7, 2010 at 7:23 am

Dear Jaquues, I entirely agree with your comments we (Brits) like you French have more than our fair share of scumbags BUT there are some of us who wish to "join" the French way of life and contribute to it as we over here have seen and ARE experiencing the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have NO INTENTION of contributing to the system, at least your president has the guts to start kicking some of the lowlife out.
The wishy washy tossers that are our so called government bow and beg the ECC for any funding we get, even though we contribute almost
£50.000.000.00 a day to it.

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Dana February 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Well, sad, but Jacques is right .
Why extra-spending and concessions for UK who did not even wanted to be a full EU member?
-UK opted-out on police and justice matters
-UK opted-out from the Economic and Monetary Union
-UK also does not participate in the Schengen Agreement
-The UK held a referendum two-and-a-half years after joining the European Community, on whether to remain a member
-…
-and what, honestly, was the UK contribution to the efforts of the last years ? France and Germany only had to shoulder and find solutions?
Benefits only sounds good, but is it "Lord-ly" ?

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David May 1, 2011 at 8:04 am

I think you all read too many fascist newspapers.
I am fiscally resident in France (demanded by the Impots) because my partner and our children are French.
I am (however) and always will be refused any kind of social (medical, retirement, unemployment) cover in France until the day I die, because I have been, all my life, and still am self-employed in England. When I retire, I will receive my pension in France from the UK, and the UK will pay for my medical treatment in France, and that is it – sum, total. Until then I am "on my own".
France will never pay one centime toward my "keep", and YET I have to pay CDG, CRDS and all other social charges in France as if I received the same benefits as a French person.
I still pay my National Insurance in England at the same time and I am FURIOUS.
The European Union has legislated that a citizen should pay and receive benefits in only one country. I am off to the "Tribunal".
You are all wrong in thinking that the French state pays for these English "tossers?". The Uk issues them with E forms and re-imburses France for all medical treatment that they receive.

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James October 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I agree with all David said and having thought of moving my family to France after reading on many blogs so much hate of the English I don't think I will bother! The French seem to forget the English move to France and plough all their money into doing up there 2 bit barns and hovels (the French let fall round their ears) and then pay plenty in taxes for the privilage. The way they run their health system and discriminate against the English is just disgusting. If English live in France and pay their way why no health service? why such expense having to take out private cover – not on. Plenty wrong with France me I stay put in England.

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