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What are the rules on holiday health cover for pensioners in France?

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What are the rules on holiday health cover for pensioners in France?
Illustration photo: AFP
16:04 CEST+02:00
If you're a pensioner living in France and planning a holiday, then the rules around healthcare can get pretty complicated. Here's what you need to know.

Having access to France's lauded healthcare system is seen as a positive, even an incentive, to move here once you're retired. 

But in order to make the most of it, you need to first understand the rules - and they aren't always that clear, as one reader who wrote to us pointed out. 

Gordon Spector, a British retiree living in the south west of France said: "From reading relevant online sites I understood that if I was a member of the French healthcare system with a social security number I (and all Britions in same situation as I in France) would be entitled to apply online to the French 'CEAM' European travel health card."
 
Gordon said he believed that as a resident in France, he would not be entitled to the UK's EHIC card. 
 
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Photo: AFP

But somewhat confusingly there are a few exceptions to the rule regarding EHIC vs. CEAM cards. 
 
The page on the NHS website covering this subjects states that if you live abroad and you:
  • receive a UK State Pension or exportable UK benefit
  • you are a posted or frontier worker
  • or you are living in the EEA and are family member of someone working in the UK
then you need to apply to renew your EHIC by contacting Overseas Healthcare Services. You can find the address under the Living abroad section here, as well as a contact number. 
 
British pensioners in France are registered with their local health authority in France with an S1 form. 
 
This form means that the UK is your ‘competent state' - responsible for funding your healthcare. You are affiliated to the French health system via CPAM and receive health care on the same basis as a French national, but the UK reimburses France for your health care costs.
 
Similarly holding an EHIC card, rather than a CEAM, means that the UK will cover any emergency treatment you need in other EU countries. 
 
 
 
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