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In maps: A look at the most dangerous roads in your part of France

As France prepares to implement a controversial cut in the speed limit the most dangerous stretches of roads in each department around the country have been mapped out. We take a closer look.

In maps: A look at the most dangerous roads in your part of France
AFP/Ligue contra la violence routiere

As France prepares to cut the speed limit on two lane countryside roads from 90 km/h to 80km/h, a road safety organisation, which is in favour of the controversial change, has mapped out the most dangerous roads in each department in France.

The League Against Road Violence (Ligue contre la violence routiere) commissioned a study to back the drop in the speed limit which aimed to show the most dangerous roads in each part of France based on the number of fatalities in accidents between 2006 and 2015.

“Department by department, this study by the League Against Road Violence lists the departmental and national roads which have witnessed the most fatal accidents. These 92 maps validate the principle of the government's reform, which will be applied on July 1st,” said the organisation.

The League's Chantal Perrichon added: “Not surprisingly, our study shows that the so-called 'good' secondary roads are the ones that have the highest number of deaths and therefore the government policy is right. It's true and it's good to have proof.”

The roads highlighted are the two lane highways with no central reservation which will be subject to the cut in speed limits. In all there are 400,000 km of roads, 40 percent of the overall network, which will be subject to the law change.

Here's a look at some of the departments starting with the south west. Click on the titles for more information.

READ ALSO: All you need to know about France's speed limit cut and how it will affect you

Dordogne

Between 2006 and 2015 there were 286 deaths on the two lane highways without a central reservation, which will be subject to the new cut in speed limit from 90km/h to 80km/h.

Charente

In Charente there were 176 fatalities on roads that will be subject to the drop in speed limit.

Charente-Maritime

There were 414 deaths on two lane highways without a central reservation between 2006 and 2015 in Charente-Maritime.

Lot-et-Garonne

There  were 235 deaths on the two lane highways of Lot-et-Garonne between 2006 and 2015.

Gironde

(405 deaths)

Pyrenees-Atlantique 

(197 deaths)

Haute-Garonne

(306 deaths)

Gers

(179 deaths)

Herault

(506 deaths)

Lot

(133 deaths)

Deux-Sevres

(204 deaths)

Vienne

(186 deaths)

Haute-Vienne

(158 deaths)

Brittany

Côtes-d'Armor

(251 deaths)

Morbihan

(320 deaths)

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Ain

(308 deaths)

Isere

(380 deaths)

Rhône

(206 deaths)

Haute-Savoie

(271 deaths)

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Alpes-Maritimes

(141 deaths)

Var

(420 deaths)

Bouches-du-Rhône

Normandy

Manche

(263 deaths)

Calvados

(204 deaths)

Greater Paris region of Île de France

Yvelines

(131 deaths)

Seine-et-Marne

(346 deaths)

 

If your department was not featured you can click here to find the map and more details of the dangerous roads.

 

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HEALTH

Mutuelles: Why is French health insurance getting more expensive?

France’s top-up health insurance 'mutuelles' have been getting steadily more expensive in 2020. Here’s a look at what’s changing, why and who is the worst affected.

Mutuelles: Why is French health insurance getting more expensive?
A dentist is checking the teeth of an elderly lady in a nursing home in Paris. Photo: AFP

“The prices have never been so high in France,” said Fabien Soccio, spokesperson for the company Meilleure Assurance (Best Insurance).

His company this week revealed the results of a new study of France's private health insurance fees, mutuelles, to French media.

After comparing 55 different mutuelles health insurances, Meilleur Assurance concluded that there had been a general spike in the average cost.

What is a mutuelle?

France has generous state health care that covers a lot of medical expenses, but not all costs are reimbursed.

In France you pay upfront for your doctor's appointment, prescription or procedure and then the government reimburses the costs to you. Depending on the procedure and your situation, usually about 80-90 percent of the cost is reimbursed.

If that cost is a €25 appointment with your GP that's not such a big deal, but with more expensive treatments the costs can mount up, which is where a mutuelle comes in.

The mutuelle is a 'top-up' insurance – not obligatory, but recommended – which covers extra costs that are not covered by the state. How much a mutuelle covers will depend on the kind of insurance, where you live and the expenses in question.

If you are an employee, your employer must pay for at least half the cost of your mutuelle

Who was affected by the price increase?

The 2020 price hike touched the country as a whole, however some regions and population groups were harder hit than others, Soccio told Le Parisien.

To compare the costs for different socio-demographic groups, Meilleur Assurance created three different types of profiles; a 25-year-old employee with a “classic” mutuelle; a couple with two children, also on a “classic” mutuelle and a 60-year-old couple with “strengthened” guarantees in their mutuelle.

Seniors hardest hit

Retirees tend to go for fuller versions of mutuelles because these cover additional costs (such as dental and optical treatments). 

Seniors on extensive types of mutuelles were those suffering the steepest price increases this year, Soccio said. 

“In 2020, fifteen départements exceeded a threshold of €3,000 in annual fees for a senior couple with extra guarantees,” Soccio said.

“That’s an average increase of more than €176 in one year,” he said.

For the couple with a child, the increase was slighter ( an extra 4 percent), whereas the young employee saw health insurance bills largely unchanged.

READ ALSO Brexit: Do I need a mutuelle to get residency in France?

 

.. along with Parisians

The study also revealed large price differences between different regions, with inhabitants in the Paris region Ile-de-France paying the highest bills for their mutuelles.

A retired couple would pay on average €528 more if they lived in Paris compared to if they lived in a more rural, cheaper département like Mayenne.

Similarly, employees would pay 30 percent more on average in Paris than in Pays-de-la-Loire.

Parisians also saw the steepest price increases since last year, by 14.6 percent on average for the retired couple with a mutuelle covering extra costs.

On a national level, the average price increase for the same couple was 12.1 percent. 

.. but everyone was a little worse off

However the country as a whole saw a price increase last year, with even those opting for the cheapest kinds of health insurance affected by the general price hike.

In one year, from 2019 to 2020, the cheapest type of health insurance had increased by 13.7 percent, according to the study. 

Why the increase?

Prices generally increase a little every year, but this year was unusual, Soccio said.

“Today, we are in an uncertain and troubled situation,” he told Europe 1, listing several factors that had contributed to the price increase: the Covid-19 pandemic, the government's new health reform known as “100 percent Santé”, and a new health tax known as the “Covid surtax”.

When the French government presented their new budget for 2021, centred on their dazzling €100 billion relaunch plan, they promised not to increase taxes for the French. Instead, to top up their savings a little, the government introduced a new tax, the “Covid surtax”, which will be paid through the mutuelles and other health insurance companies.

This tax will provide €1 billion in total to the state in 2021, and €500 million in 2022, according to French media.

What about the future?

Soccio said he worried the trend of prices increasing would continue in the next couple of years, leading to steep prices for even those opting for the cheaper mutuelles.

“It's safe to bet that the national average costs will pass €3,000 in the next two years,” he told Le Parisien.

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