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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everything has been going swimmingly for months - until today .... I had my visa appointment at the French Consulate in Los Angeles .... the girl was very nice and helpful and I know this isn't insurmountable ...

(As an aside - I was fretting over the appointment ... thought it was an interview ... it wasn't .... girl sat at counter behind plexi-glass and looked at all my documents ... took my picture, my fingerprints and my money ..... that was it)

So, I live in Southern California and have health coverage (I'm retired) through Kaiser Permanente (they cover me no matter where in the world I am - for emergency services) .... I spent some time in Russia last summer and had to provide to them that I had coverage while there - I did and it was never questioned ..... hmmm ... I kept hoping France would go as well ............. well, not!

So the girl insinuated that any big health coverage giant (she mentioned the most popular, including Kaiser, by name) aren't acceptable and directed me to 'google travel insurance' to find a carrier they'll accept ... (So, I'm guessing that France just doesn't want to deal with any carrier they're not very familiar with) ....

Simple question to the group .... who did you use? (I'm planning on finding the cheapest because I have no intention of ever using them - if I need coverage I'll use Kaiser!)
 

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No, Kaiser isn't acceptable because they are "emergency services only" for international use. (Kaiser doesn't exist in France.)

You need international health coverage - usually interpreted to be "expat health coverage" roughly equivalent to the national healthcare coverage. This means that you should be covered for regular doctor visits, routine vaccinations, lab tests, etc. in France outside of an emergency or urgent care situation. Depending on the type of visa you're going for, you may need repatriation coverage - i.e. the insurance will cover sending you back "home" if you have a serious illness or accident.

You can check the coverage available through an organization like AARO, if only to get an idea of the type of coverage and the group rates. https://aaro.org/medical-insurance

You can talk to an international insurance company - someone like AXA, Zurich, Allianz, Bupa, SignaGlobal, Aetna etc. - to see what they can offer. Some Blue Cross agencies will cover you for international residence, but definitely not all do.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Bev ... you actually mentioned stuff that I had no idea was covered (ie: doc visits - I just figured I'd pay out of pocket for them ... especially since there was a thread here a week or two ago and it mentioned 23 euro for a doc visit - heck, I pay 4 times that to get my teeth cleaned!) ... I thought I only had to provide "emergency service" insurance (hence Kaiser) ..... I'm not really a doc person but at least it's nice to know that things are covered in case I do get a nasty cold or something like that ....

I will purchase the insurance today or tomorrow .. and hopefully get something I can email to the consulate by the end of the week .... then I should know for sure that I'm moving by the end of June .... YIPPEE!
 

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You have no intention of using your insurer. None of us do.

What will you do if you have a heart attack, and need bypass surgery? What if you get cancer?

Intention had no relevance. If you fall ill, you fall ill, and you need to be insured to cover it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses (Bev if you want to delete this thread go ahead) ... I just couldn't wait for more responses - I wanted to get the info to the Consulate so that my application wouldn't be delayed .....

I found what I was looking for (thanks SoleilC) and purchased the coverage this afternoon and have already sent the 'proof' to the Consulate ...

Again, thanks all!
 

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Unfortunately, Dear BellT, you are quite right.

A famous British PM, Harold Macmillan (1950s) once said...."planning is always difficult, especially for the future".

DejW

You have no intention of using your insurer. None of us do.

What will you do if you have a heart attack, and need bypass surgery? What if you get cancer?

Intention had no relevance. If you fall ill, you fall ill, and you need to be insured to cover it.
 

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I bought a travel policy from Allianz for a whopping $79, it covers me for 364 days. It included $50,000 in emergency medical coverage and the repatriation coverage that the consulate required.

You will have to ask them specifically for a consulate letter, which I received in a few hours.
 

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I bought a travel policy from Allianz for a whopping $79, it covers me for 364 days. It included $50,000 in emergency medical coverage and the repatriation coverage that the consulate required.

You will have to ask them specifically for a consulate letter, which I received in a few hours.
The one caveat about buying travel coverage is that you should be looking at what sort of insurance you actually need, as well as what it costs. The repatriation coverage will ship you back home once you are recovered enough to travel after a serious accident or injury - on the assumption that your ongoing health care costs are covered back in your "home country." For those coming from the US, that means you shouldn't cancel your US based coverage, at least not in the first year. (For example, I see they shipped John Kerry home after he broke his leg this weekend. Though I think he's got insurance no problem. <g>)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes Bev ... I now am the proud owner of two insurance policies ...one for France and the other here in the US .... my current plans are to live in France for two years - after that I'll decide if I want to remain in Europe permanently .... because of that I cannot drop my US insurance (if I did and then decided to stay in the US I'd never get the 'rates' I pay now) ... this was something I had hoped to avoid but apparently cannot .... I was only thinking in terms of 'emergency care' and that I'd pay out of pocket for anything non-emergency but that ended up being a no-go ..... thankfully the French insurance is about 1/4 of what I pay in the US .... kind of an ugly situation for me - but it's my choice ....
 

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I am very interested in this issue of travel insurance versus health insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining a Carte de Sejour.

I have heard that having a 12 month travel insurance policy incorporating comprehensive health insurance (including repatriation) is sufficient.

On the other hand I have read that a Prefecture in a small city in the South-West deemed travel insurance was "not enough" and demanded a stand-alone health insurance policy.

The issue is a live one for me as the difference in cost is substantial.

Can anyone shed any light on this?
 

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On the visa side of things, it depends first of all on what your local consulate requires, and also on precisely what sort of visa you're going for. For example, a student visa kind of presumes you're only in France for the term of the visa - and thus in the event of serious accident or illness, you'd want to be shipped back "home" for follow up treatment.

A "visitor" visa taken prior to marrying a French national kind of implies that after you get married, you're going to go onto your French spouse's sécu enrollment, so again, for that first "visitor" year the consulate may very well accept a travel policy.

The tricky one is if you are retiring to France. Then, for the visa, it's kind of up to the consulate. (And they may well figure that the likelihood of your returning back home is higher in the first year anyhow.) When it comes to applying for a carte de séjour and more permanent residence, if you're not eligible for the French sécu system (because you're not able to work), then the prefecture is going to want you to have health coverage that is similar to what the sécu offers. Travel insurance normally only covers "urgent" situations and includes repatriation - which doesn't do you any good once your eligibility for the national coverage back "home" lapses.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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The Sydney Consulate is likely to be very sticky about health insurance for a long stay, with the possible exception of those on a spouse visa, student visa, working holiday visa, or work visa. If you're not applying for one of those they will almost certainly require a comprehensive international health insurance policy that includes repatriation.
 

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My husband applied for a carte de sejour at our local prefecture. We didn't know if they'd accept comprehensive travel insurance but since it covers everything that a basic expat policy does we thought we would give it a go. The prefecture accepted it and didn't want the page with what it actually covered. We have got the interim stamp so they could still come back to us. I also
Thought they would want to see health cover for our whole family but they weren't interested in mine (British citizen) or non EU kids just my husband.

If they say he has to have it then the cheapest I could find was IMG Global or Seven Corners if maternity required.
 

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My husband applied for a carte de sejour at our local prefecture. We didn't know if they'd accept comprehensive travel insurance but since it covers everything that a basic expat policy does we thought we would give it a go. The prefecture accepted it and didn't want the page with what it actually covered. We have got the interim stamp so they could still come back to us. I also
Thought they would want to see health cover for our whole family but they weren't interested in mine (British citizen) or non EU kids just my husband.

If they say he has to have it then the cheapest I could find was IMG Global or Seven Corners if maternity required.
That was your Prefecture though (because your husband was joining you an EU citizen) and Prefectures all seem to have different interpretation). Consulates are a totally different department and they too vary. Sydney has a reputation for being difficult and, since they won't discuss visa requirement by phone or email, it's particularly difficult for interstate applicants who have to fly to Sydney for their visa appointment - at risk of being knocked back because of the health insurance and therefore having to make another appointment and another trip to Sydney.

Perhaps others who have dealt with the Sydney Consulate will post on their experiences.
 

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That was your Prefecture though (because your husband was joining you an EU citizen) and Prefectures all seem to have different interpretation). Consulates are a totally different department and they too vary. Sydney has a reputation for being difficult and, since they won't discuss visa requirement by phone or email, it's particularly difficult for interstate applicants who have to fly to Sydney for their visa appointment - at risk of being knocked back because of the health insurance and therefore having to make another appointment and another trip to Sydney.

Perhaps others who have dealt with the Sydney Consulate will post on their experiences.
I won't be dealing with the Consulate in Sydney. My wife has an EU passport so I will be making my CdS application in France. We will be staying in France for an initial period of 12 months with a view to buying a house and settling (retiring) permanently.
The travel policy I am looking at goes much further than emergencies or repatriation, it covers doctor's visits etc.
 

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If you're going directly through the prefecture, then try your luck and see what happens. Worst they can say is "no" - in which case you'll have to either upgrade your policy or simply buy another one.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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you could give it a try that's what we did. You will probably need to get it translated if it's not a French policy. If they don't like it then you may just be able to take out a policy for your wife if they don't want to see your cover.

If you are planning to stay here long term then the advantage of getting a expat policy now is that any illnesses you may get from now on would be covered. If you delay getting it they would be considered pre existing conditions
 
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