Health and Well-Being
France’s health-care system: “la sécurité sociale”
French health-care coverage is very high-quality and affordable. It is subsidized by the French government and provided under the national social security system, called sécurité sociale. Enrollment to the national social security system is automatic when you register for classes at the beginning of the academic year at your institution and is included in your tuition fees. The sécurité sociale system reimburses, on average, about 60 percent to 80 percent of expenses related to an illness.
To participate in the national student health-care system, students must be younger than 28 years of age and enrolled in a program lasting at least four months at an approved higher education institution.
In addition to being enrolled in the national health-care system, students must purchase supplemental health insurance to secure coverage for all or part of the expenses not covered by the basic national plan. These supplemental plans cost on average €200 per academic year.
The two largest student group health plans are:
- LMDE (La Mutuelle des Étudiants, site in French only)
- USEM (L’Union Nationale des Mutuelles Etudiantes Régionales, site in French only), a federation of 10 regional student plans
Beginning on the date when the above conditions are no longer met (i.e., when a student reaches age 28 or has completed their educational program and has a job in France they have not yet started), students may apply for an extension of health benefits for a period no longer than four years.
Other students (those enrolled in programs shorter than four months and students enrolled in a non-participating institution) must obtain medical insurance from a private insurance company.
Students over age 28 may, under certain conditions, benefit from the system of universal medical coverage (CMU, Couverture Médicale Universelle), for which they must pay a special annual premium.
In case of emergency
In case of emergency, dial 18 (fire), 17 (police), or 15 (emergency medical services) from any landline telephone. From a cell phone, dial 112, the all-purpose emergency number throughout the European Union.
Every hospital in France maintains an emergency room that is open around the clock. Physicians and pharmacies provide night and weekend hours. Every pharmacy posts in its window the name and number of the physicians and pharmacies currently providing emergency services.