Tips for choosing complementary health insurance in France


It is recommended that policyholders reassess their contract and their premium every three to four years at most. Photo: REDPIXEL.PL/Shutterstock

There are hundreds of choices in France in terms of complementary health, especially if you are self-employed or retired pensioner abroad.

Employees rarely have a choice of provider, but can always refuse the standard option offered by their employer if they want to pay for a more attractive offer. Some employers may even pay half the premium even if a worker chooses another option.

Likewise, self-employed people or retirees with foreign pensions also have more choice as to which provider to choose.

Additional insurance (supplementary health insurance) act as additional insurance on top of existing public health care. Residents in France who do not have supplementary health insurance risk having to pay thousands of hospital bills in certain extreme cases.

Here’s how to choose the one that’s right for you.

Read more: French “complementary” health insurance explained

If you are looking for a new health supplement, consider the following factors.

Consider your personal needs

  • Look carefully at what the contract covers, such as eyes, teeth, specialists or hospitalization.

  • Be clear about compensation amounts and reimbursement limits.

  • Pay particular attention to existing issues, such as reimbursement for hearing aids or glasses, if you wear them.

Adeline Fortesa, commercial director of the comparator LeLynx, explains to Le Monde: “Some contracts also offer guarantees in the areas of well-being (alternative medicine) and prevention (reimbursement of sports activities). This added value can make the difference.

Some policies may even offer guarantees for assistance services (domestic help in the event of hospitalization or immobilization, childcare, tutoring in the hospital) but these may lead to a more expensive premium.

Beware of excesses and other exceptions

  • Pay attention to the amount of the deductible, i.e. the amount that the policyholder must pay when making a claim.

  • Contracts with systematic deductibles and deductibles of too high a value should be avoided.

  • Take into account any waiting periods (period during which the guarantee taken out does not apply).

  • Be careful if certain surgical procedures (considered as “comfort” or aesthetic) or certain stays in a nursing home are not covered.

  • Many policies do not cover the care needed after an accident caused by excessive alcohol consumption or the practice of a sport considered dangerous, for example.

Use policy comparison services

  • Online comparison websites can save you time by selecting the most advantageous contracts that best suit your needs.

  • In France, these include Assurland, Insurly, Lecomparateurassurance, LeLynx, Lesfurets, Reassurezmoi and Selectra.

Comparison websites can help you save big on policies. Credit: / screenshot

However, be aware that many comparison sites do not offer preferential rates in the same way as a credit broker might, especially if the latter generally offers pre-negotiated rates.

Comparison sites generally collect information only from potential policy providers. The contract is then generally offered at the same rate as if the insured had taken out a contract directly with the insurance company.

Compare and contrast regularly to get the best rates

Still, using price comparison sites can sometimes reduce your premium amount by up to 40%, and new customers are often more likely to receive the best deals, LeLynx’s Ms. Fortesa said.

She said: “Insurers offering discounts to long-time loyal customers or those who take out multiple policies (home, auto, health, etc.) are exceptional.

“Some insurers are more competitive on certain types of contracts and much less on others, and their commercial strategy changes every year… New entrants always benefit from the best conditions. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check the competition regularly.

It recommends that policyholders carry out a reassessment of their contract and their premium every three to four years at the most, to check whether they are still benefiting from the best rate.

Policyholders can modify their contract at this stage if they find a better offer. Likewise, from July 1, 2023, people will be able to end almost any insurance contract at any time – provided that one year has passed since the start of the policy.

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