France has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but sometimes the system can seem a little bit complicated for expats. Whether you’re in Paris temporarily to work or study or you’re an expat in France, it’s important to know how the system works and what to do if you ever find yourself unwell in France. Here is our guide to seeing a doctor in France.
How to register with a doctor?
If you’re planning on living in France permanently, it’s important that you register with the French health care system as soon as you arrive. You’ll need to obtain a carte vitale and register with a GP (médecin traitant) who will become your regular doctor. You can do this by filling in a ‘Déclaration de choix du médecin traitant’ form at your local CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie). You can also apply for a carte vitale at the CPAM.
Once you’ve registered with a doctor, it’s important that you stick with the same one. If you see a different doctor to the one that you are already registered to, you won’t be entitled to the same level of reimbursement. If you want to change your regular doctor, you’ll need to fill in another ‘Déclaration de choix du médecin traitant’ form at the CPAM.
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What if you’re not registered with a doctor?
If you’re only in Paris temporarily, either for work or study, you probably won’t be registered with a doctor or have a carte vitale. But don’t worry, there are other options available. You can book a doctor’s appointment online with Doctolib or MonDocteur.
It’s a free service that is quick and easy to use. Simply type in what kind of doctor you’re looking for (GP, specialised doctor, dentist, etc.) and your area to find a doctor near you and book an appointment. You can look at their availability, their price lists, and even see if they speak other languages (which is always useful for expats!). They’ll even send you a reminder text and email the day before your appointment so you won’t forget.
There is no paperwork to fill in once you’re at the appointment. The doctor will ask you for some general information (name, age, address, any medical allergies, etc.) to allow them to complete the forms if you need a prescription.
How much does it cost?
The standard rate for an appointment with a GP is €25, but some doctors may charge more. To find out the exact price, you can check online. Doctors are registered under different secteurs, which means that they can charge different rates.
– Secteur 1 conventionné: These doctors work in the public healthcare system and their tariffs are fixed. They charge the standard fee of €25.
– Secteur 2 conventionné: These doctors also work in the public healthcare system, but their tariffs are not fixed. They can charge more than the standard €25, but their rates are overseen by the government.
– A ‘non-conventionné’ doctor is a private doctor who is free to set their own rates which are not overseen by the government, so expect to pay a lot more for an appointment.
You have to pay the doctor upfront and then you will later be reimbursed for around 70% of the cost.
Tip: Make sure you bring cash with you, as not all doctors will accept card payments.
You’ll also need your carte vitale in order to be reimbursed later. If you don’t yet have a carte vitale but you have a social security number, the doctor will give you a refund form (feuille de soins), which you’ll need to take to the CPAM in order to be reimbursed for your appointment.