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HEALTH

EXPLAINED: How do you swap your UK European health insurance card for a French one

For most British people in France, their UK-issued EHIC (European health insurance card) will cease to work after January 1st - here's how to swap it for a French one.

EXPLAINED: How do you swap your UK European health insurance card for a French one
Make sure you're covered if you have a medical emergency while travelling. Photo: AFP

What is EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card was the mechanism by which British people who needed medical treatment while abroad in the EU could get their costs paid, via an agreement in which all EU member states refund the cost of medical treatment abroad for their members.

From January 1st, when the transition period ends and the UK leaves the EU, this card will no longer work for most British people – and UK-resident Brits travelling to Europe on holiday will need to take out health insurance or travel insurance in the same way that they do when travelling to non-European destinations.

Who needs to swap?

This affects British people who are resident in France and are not pensioners or students.

Anyone who holds an S1, the document held by pensioners which means the the UK pays their medical costs, is still entitled to a UK-issued EHIC – although they need to apply for a new one before December 31st – find out more here.

Everyone else needs to apply, if they have not already done so, for a Carte européenne d'assurance maladie (CEAM) – which is the French-issued equivalent of the EHIC.

Many people who are registered within the French system will already have one of these and if you have, there is no need to swap it for a new one.

How do you get the French CEAM card?

In good news, this is one French bureaucratic task that is actually pretty straightforward.

First you need to be registered in the French health system – you will need to be this before January 1st anyway, even if you aren't planning on travelling, and most people will have done so by now but if you haven't – here's how.

If you are registered you need to log on to your online Ameli account at ameli.fr. Once you are logged in, select the mes informations section and about halfway down is the CEAM card. If you already have one it will tell you when it is valid until, if you don't click on the link to request one.

The card will then be posted out to the address that Ameli holds for you. 

What does a CEAM do?

The CEAM works in the same way as the EHIC – it entitles you to emergency medical treatment if you fall sick or get injured anywhere in the EU.

It's intended for emergency cover only, so there are things that it doesn't cover and it won't cover the cost of medical repatriation, so people who travel a lot are generally advised to also get travel insurance.

 

Member comments

  1. As you need to be in France for three months before you can register in the health system, without an S1, how can anyone arriving now register before 1st January?

  2. Yes I am having this issue. I arrived a month ago and wondered if there is anyway to acquire French health cover before 31st December 20? Any advice will be hugely appreciated – Thanks

  3. Yes I am having this issue. I arrived a month ago and wondered if there is anyway to acquire French health cover before 31st December 20? Any advice will be hugely appreciated – Thanks

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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