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Social security and the CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie)
Health insurance in France is managed by the national social security system. This is made up of a network of local branches, called the Caisses Primaires d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM).
The general French social security system is open to all students free of charge: once registered, you can request reimbursements of your medical costs, obtain a social security number and order your Carte Vitale health insurance card.
On average, the social security system will reimburse 70% of your doctor’s bills and between 15 to 100% of the costs of medication. In addition to this general system, complementary or top-up insurance (called mutuelles) can be purchased to complete the reimbursement up to a full coverage of all costs.
Mutuelles and complementary health insurance
Complementary health insurance plans, or mutuelles, are a top-up service covering the costs that remain once the social security has allocated its own reimbursement (e.g. the remaining 30% of doctor’s bills). Registration with a student mutuelle is optional but recommended. In order to be eligible for a mutuelle, you must already be registered with the French social security system. There are a large number of insurance plans available so it is a good idea to compare the options before choosing your own.
For more information about student mutuelles, you can visit the following pages:
- Aid to finance complementary health insurance (FR)
- « Île-de-France Mutuelle Santé » negotiated by the Ile-de-
France region to provide access to care at advantageous rates
- How do you choose your student health insurance? (FR)
- Health care system and complementary health insurance (FR)
- Complementary health insurance comparator (FR)
- Heyme (FR)
- LMDE (FR)
- Maif (FR)
Checking your status
Are you already affiliated to the social security system in France?
If you are already registered with the general French social security system or any other system of social security in France : you do not need to complete any new procedures and will stay affiliated to the same system.
Are you a student from a country within the European Economic Area or Switzerland?
You are covered by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) of your country of origin. If you do not possess a European Health Insurance Card or you only possess an S1 form, you may request to be registered with the general social security system in France. This is done online at: etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr.
Are you an international student from a country outside of the European Economic Area?
You must register with the general social security system in France. This is done online at: etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr.
In an Emergency
- Dial 112 for emergency services throughout the European Union
- Dial 15 for the SAMU (French emergency medical services)
- Dial 18 for your nearest fire station, which also administers first aid
- Dial 3624 for SOS médecin, a round-the-clock house visit service (calls cost 12 c/minute)
- Duty chemist/night pharmacies in Île de France (FR) or around France (FR)
- All hospitals have emergency services (FR)