Expatriation: what consequences for your health coverage?


The rights of expatriate employees depend on whether or not there is a bilateral social security agreement between France and this country photo credit: GettyImages

Unlike posting, expatriate status does not allow you to contribute to the health insurance and old-age insurance funds in France. The expatriate employee is therefore covered by the social protection system of the country in which he works. Their rights depend in particular on the existence of a bilateral social security agreement between France and their host country. It is therefore recommended that expatriates take out supplementary health insurance specially adapted to their situation.

Summary:

  • Summary

  • The expatriate employee loses his rights of affiliation to the French social system

  • Expatriation: the steps to take with Social Security

  • Expatriation in a State of the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Switzerland

  • Be expatriated in a country that has signed an agreement with France

  • How is expatriation in a country without an agreement with France?

  • Why take out voluntary insurance with the CFE (Caisse des Français de l’Etranger)

Summary

● The expatriate employee loses his affiliation rights to the French social security system

● Expatriation: the steps to take with Social Security

● Expatriation in a state of the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Switzerland

● Be expatriated in a country that has signed an agreement with France

● How is expatriation in a country without an agreement with France?

● Why take out voluntary insurance with the CFE (Caisse des Français de l’Étranger)

The expatriate employee loses his rights of affiliation to the French social system

Unlike secondment, expatriate status does not allow direct contributions to the health insurance and old-age insurance funds in France. Indeed, the employee is bound to the host company by a local contract and his initial employment contract is suspended for the duration of his mission abroad. He therefore loses his rights of affiliation to the French social system and must come under the local system of the State in which he works. To benefit from appropriate health coverage, it is therefore important to be familiar with the procedures and formalities to be completed.

To note

When you are seconded abroad by your company, your company in France continues to pay you. You therefore remain affiliated with the French Social Security throughout the period of your mission abroad.

Expatriation: the steps to take with Social Security

At the time of expatriation, you must inform your French primary health insurance fund of your departure and that of your minor children, if they are leaving with you. This involves completing the official form entitled “Declaration of transfer of residence outside France”. This document must be sent within one month from the date on which you cease to reside in France. Adults accompanying you must follow the same procedure.

To know

As an expatriate, you must return your Vitale card and your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to your Primary Health Insurance Fund. You must also return those of your minor children if they follow you.

Expatriation in a State of the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Switzerland

The European Economic Area (EEA) is made up of all the states of the European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. If you are going to Switzerland or to an EEA State, you must complete form S041 entitled “Attestation concerning the aggregation of periods of insurance, employment or residence”. You can request it from your Primary Health Insurance Fund in France.

This document must be submitted to the health organization of the State where you are expatriated. It allows local institutions to take into account periods of insurance, employment or residence completed in France. This gives you rights to health, maternity and death insurance benefits in your country of expatriation.

Expatriate family health coverage

The members of your family are also covered by the Social Security of your host country. This is the case regardless of the country in which they choose to reside. If they continue to live in France, you must complete the S1 document entitled “Attestation for the registration of members of the family of salaried or self-employed workers” at your foreign institution of affiliation. Your family must then submit this document to their Primary Health Insurance Fund in France to be registered.

Be expatriated in a country that has signed an agreement with France

Other mechanisms facilitating the transition from the French system to the local system may exist in countries that have signed a bilateral social security agreement with France. This is the case of Argentina, Benin, Morocco or Serbia, for example. You then benefit from the provisions of this agreement and from equal treatment with the inhabitants. The competent institutions abroad will also take into account your duration of insurance in France, via form S041, when examining your possible rights to the various benefits.

To note

You can consult the list of all the countries concerned on the website of the Center for European and International Social Security Liaison (CLEISS).

How is expatriation in a country without an agreement with France?

If you go to a country that has not signed the agreement with France, your rights depend on the social security system of your country of expatriation. So take the time to find out about the local social security and health care system before you leave. If you consider it insufficient, you can take out additional insurance to continue to benefit from the French scheme.

Why take out voluntary insurance with the CFE (Caisse des Français de l’Etranger)

Whatever your situation, it is strongly recommended that you take out voluntary insurance with the CFE (Caisse des Français de l’Étranger). Indeed, the CFE ensures the continuity of your social cover and your rights without interruption of your health insurance or loss of quarters for the calculation of your retirement. The CFE covers the risks associated with illness, maternity, invalidity, as well as those of accidents at work and occupational disease. However, membership of the CFE is added to the contribution to the compulsory scheme of the country of expatriation.

Like Social Security, the CFE is responsible for reimbursing medical expenses abroad, within the limits of the amounts applied in France. However, in most countries, these reimbursements are lower than the prices charged by foreign doctors or hospitals. In addition, except in very rare cases, the CFE does not advance the costs in the event of hospitalization and does not cover your civil liability abroad or even emergency medical repatriation. This is why it is advisable to combine the basic guarantees of the CFE with a special “expatriate” health mutual.

Expatriates: the importance of subscribing to mutual health insurance abroad

Complementary insurance has many advantages. It allows you to benefit from better coverage of health costs and accidents at work (death, daily allowances, disability pensions), repatriation assistance, the possibility of contributing to a supplementary pension, etc. Benefits offered by health insurance mutuals abroad can therefore be interesting. For example, to benefit from global hospital third-party payment, access to a multilingual call center, support for medical procedures, and above all to receive a global and single reimbursement of your medical expenses in the currency of your choice. .

Depending on the country concerned by the expatriation, the coverage of medical expenses can be very low. It is therefore strongly advised to take out complementary health insurance, either individually or via a group insurance contract signed by your company.

When you return to France, it is important to remember to reactivate your rights to French health insurance.

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