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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all.

Firstly, a big thankyou to the administrators of this forum and all those who have been so incredibly helpful with their posts and replies. The wealth of information on this forum has transformed my knowledge in the past few days.

Our introduction:

My wife and I live on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. We're in our 40s/50s. I'm Brit/Canadian and DW is Canadian/South African. After 7 years we're utterly bored with North American culture and have decided to move to Europe. I was born in Zambia when it was still a British colony and my wife was born in South Africa. After leaving South Africa we tried Australia before relocating to Canada.

I'm a chartered accountant by profession but haven't done anything accounting related since 1993. For many years we ran our own small pharmaceutical company back in South Africa. For the past 5 years we've been renovating houses over here in Canada, doing very well initially and then losing disasterously!

Most of my family live in the UK. DW's son lives in Dublin.

Aside from the obvious pull of family ties, we have a tremendous affinity for Europe having both grown up in Brit-centric environments.

DW has a UK spouse settlement visa. As soon as we sell up here we'll be flying to the UK. DW will then write the Facts of UK test and will immediately thereafter be applying for Permanent Residence.

And so the question:

Because neither of us has ever paid into NI, it looks like we'll have access to the NHS when in the UK but will have to get private health insurance were we to beome resident in France (at least, for the first 5 years before getting permanent residency). Am I correct in my thinking? And if so, do any kind souls have recommendations as to which insurance providers we should look at?

Sorry for the long introductory post. Hope you can give some pointers. :)
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'm no expert on the UK health care system, so can't really advise you on your coverage there. If you are covered for a certain period of time, however, I believe you would then be eligible for an EHIC, which would provide a year or two of coverage under the French system on arrival. Someone with UK experience will surely pop in here with details.

As for coverage in France, it will depend on what you're planning to do here. If you are engaged in any sort of work - even as self-employed - you wind up paying cotisations (which cover health, retirement and a couple other benefits) and thus are eligible for the national health care system.

The thing to be aware of is that the French system is a reimbursement system (i.e. you pay the doctor or lab and then are reimbursed into your bank account) and that reimbursement for most common visits and treatments is at a rate of 60 to 70%. Most people carry a "mutuelle" coverage to pay the unreimbursed portion of medical bills and fees.

If you wind up having to find private coverage, look for "expat" insurance (not travel insurance) from any of the big international insurers - BUPA, AXA, Allianz, etc.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My goodness, Bev, you're amazing! Having gone through various posts going back a year now (am still working on viewing the earlier ones) I see you've been an incredible help with your quick and informative replies. Thankyou!

I'm beginning to understand that simply "moving" to France isn't that simple - even for a Brit. It seems that because we've never paid NI in the UK, we won't have access to any of the "E" cards and as a result will be forced to find private healthcare if we were to become residents of France. I might be wrong but this seems to be the way it is (and fair enough too).

Having said that, my understanding from all that I've read is that being an EEC citizen allows me to settle in France, if I wish, with no restrictions on my non-EEC wife other than applying for a Carte de Sejour for her (which appears to be automatic since she is the spouse of an EEC citizen).

My current understanding is that we now need to satisfy the French authorities that we have private healthcare insurance and then it's job done!

D'you think?
 

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Given that you're an EU citizen, you could probably move to France without having to prove to anyone that you have health care insurance. Not sure if they'll ask for proof of insurance from your wife, either, since she won't really be applying for a "visa" as such.

But in any event, health care costs in France are very reasonable (certainly in comparison with the US, which is my only basis - and I'm still comparing to fees charged 15 or 20 years ago back in the US). But having private cover is still an excellent idea.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again Bev. As I understand it, whilst the non-eu spouse of an EU national has the same rights to reside in an EU country as the EU national, we would still be required to register ourselves with the "Prefeture" with identity documents (including marriage certificate) and with proof of the following:

- sufficient resurces, so as not be a burden on the country
- "adequate" healthcare insurance

I can't provide the link in this post becuse according to the forum rules I have to
have made 4 posts.

So I'll try in the next post.
 
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