Tips on how to choose a top-up health insurance policy in France

A photo of a hand arranging blocks to show the concept of insurance

Policyholders are advised to reassess the policy and premium at least every three to four years Image: REDPIXEL.PL / Shutterstock

There are hundreds of ways to top up health insurance in France, especially if you are a self-employed worker or a pensioner with a foreign pension.

Employees rarely have a choice of provider, but may decline their employer’s default option if they wish to pay for a more attractive offer. Some employers may even pay half the premium even if an employee chooses another option.

Similarly, workers on freelance contracts or retirees on overseas pensions have a wider choice of providers.

Additional insurances (Insurance maladie complémentaire) act as an additional reassurance on top of existing government healthcare. Residents of France who do not have supplementary health insurance risk thousands in hospital bills in some extreme cases.

Here’s how to go about choosing the best.

Read more: French supplementary health insurance explained

When looking for a new supplemental health insurance plan, consider the following factors.

Consider your personal needs

  • Look closely at what the contract covers, e.g. E.g. eyes, teeth, specialists or hospitalization.

  • Find out about the compensation amounts and reimbursement caps.

  • Pay particular attention to existing problems, such as B. Reimbursement of hearing aids or glasses if you wear them.

Adeline Fortesa, sales director of comparison website LeLynx, told Le Monde: “Some policies also offer well-being (alternative medicine) and prevention (reimbursement for sports activities) coverage. This added value can make the difference.”

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Some policies may even cover assistance services (home help in case of hospitalization or immobilization, childcare, school support in hospital), but these may result in a higher premium.

Beware of excesses and other exceptions

  • Pay attention to the deductible, i.e. the amount of money that the policyholder has to pay in the event of a claim.

  • Contracts with systematic and excessive deductibles should be avoided.

  • Consider waiting times (period during which the insurance cover taken out is not valid).

  • Be aware if certain surgeries (considered “convenient” or cosmetic in nature) or certain stays in nursing homes are not covered.

  • Many policies do not cover care after an accident caused by, for example, excessive drinking or playing a sport considered dangerous.

Use policy comparison services

  • Online comparison websites can save time in choosing the cheapest contracts that best suit your needs.

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

Comparison sites can help you save a lot of money on policies. Photo credit: LeLynx.fr / Screenshot

Note, however, that many comparison sites will not offer the same preferential rates as a credit broker, especially when the latter typically offers pre-negotiated rates.

Comparison portals usually only collect information from potential insurance providers. The contract is then usually offered at the same rate as if the policyholder 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 as much as 40%, and new customers are often more likely to get the best deals, said LeLynx’s Ms. Fortesa.

She said: “Insurers who offer 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 contract types and significantly less on others, and their business strategy changes every year… Newcomers always get the best terms. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check the competition regularly.”

She recommends that policyholders reevaluate their policies and premiums at least every three to four years to see if they are still getting the best rate.

Policyholders can change their contract at this point if they find a better deal. Likewise, from July 1, 2023, almost all insurance contracts can be terminated at any time – provided that a year has passed since the start of the contract.

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