Available care, rates, physicians, and healthcare facilities in France

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France's healthcare system supports the patient's freedom of choice. Each individual is free to choose his or her primary care physician, specialist in a direct-access field, or healthcare facility, in either the public or the private sector.

Where should I seek care, and what will it cost?

The website Annuaire santé(only in French) is a service provided by the French health care system. Users can perform a multi-criteria search (name, field, location, type of procedure) for a healthcare professional (physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc.) or a healthcare facility (hospital, clinic, etc.) with authorization to practice in France.

There are no waiting lists for hospitalizations in France.

It also provides information on rates and reimbursement levels for care and services.

Annuaire santé smartphone application is also available for free download on Apple store and Google Play.

With regard to hydrotherapy, the National Council of Hydrotherapy Centers (Conseil National des Etablissements Thermaux/ CNETh) offers a website that includes a directory of hydrotherapy centers in France, rate information, and information on coverage for hydrotherapy treatment: www.medecinethermale.fr

You may also want to contact patients’ organizations for information on the health care
professionals who are licensed to treat a specific chronic or rare illness. The list of France’s accredited patients’ organizations is available online.

Which types of medical care and procedures can be reimbursed?

France’s health insurance system provides the following:

  1. Coverage for general and specialized medical care, dental care and prostheses, pharmaceuticals and appliances, laboratory tests, including expenses connected to individual-specific investigations, hospitalizations and treatments at health care facilities, physical rehabilitation, professional training and retraining, in addition to the costs of surgical procedures, pharmaceuticals, contraceptives and contraceptive devices, and examinations and laboratory tests prescribed as a prerequisite to a prescription for contraceptives;
  2. Coverage of transportation expenses for individuals obliged to travel to receive care or undergo appropriate testing for their state of health, as well as to attend a medical examination that has been prescribed pursuant to French social security law,
  3. Coverage of accommodation and treatment for disabled children or adolescents at residential facilities, and of operating expenses linked to social activities conducted by health and social care facilities;
  4. Coverage of care and hospitalizations necessitated by a voluntary termination of pregnancy;
  5. Coverage of prevention-related expenses, including screenings, prevention-related appointments, and vaccinations;
  6. Coverage of oral and dental prevention-related examinations

France’s maternity insurance system covers all medical and pharmaceutical expenses, laboratory analyses and testing, devices, and hospitalizations, whether or not these are related to the patient’s pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care, which are incurred over a set period. France’s maternity insurance also covers the compulsory pre- and post-natal examinations conducted or prescribed by a doctor or midwife, as well as examinations for young children.

In order to be covered and reimbursed by the French health insurance system, any procedure or treatment performed by a health care professional exercising in private practice or as an employee of another health care professional’s private practice, at a health center, or a health and social care facility or unit, must appear on an official list. In order to appear on the list, the procedure or treatment must be performed in line with:

When a procedure is performed repeatedly, these prescribing requirements may specify how many times it can be performed before prior agreement from the medical examiner’s office is required for an exception to extend coverage.

France’s general nomenclature of medical procedures (“nomenclature générale des actes professionels”/ NGAP) lists the clinical and medical procedures performed by dental surgeons, midwives, and licensed medical workers. Each procedure is assigned a number of key letters depending on type and ordered through the use of weighting coefficients. The agreement sets the monetary value for each key letter.

For technical procedures performed by doctors, it has been replaced by the joint classification of medical procedures (“classification commune des actes médicaux”/
CCAM).

The list of Products and Services qualifying for Reimbursement (“liste des produits et
prestations remboursables
” / LPP) is available online.

Any procedure or service not appearing on these lists cannot be reimbursed by the French health insurance system.

A few examples of health-related expenses not covered by the French health insurance system:

  • dental care: orthodontics for adults, beyond age 16, and periodontal implants
  • optical expenses: most contact lenses, refractive  surgery for nearsightedness
  • alternative medicines: phytotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropracty
  • certain vaccines, certain types of contraception
  • medical evacuations and repatriations.