Insurance and healthcare

In France, the social security system is among the word's best. You will be almost totally reimbursed and, in most cases, you won't have to pay upfront for your healthcare.

photo Université Lyon1
photo Université Lyon1
By registering at a university, you benefit from a unique type of social protection. You will pay only 30% of your medical expenses, or even nothing at all if you choose a mutual healthcare plan that reimburses the rest. 

International students can take advantage of mandatory social security and possibly of a mutual healthcare plan to take care of amounts not reimbursed by French social security. LMDE and SMERRA offer both social security and a mutual healthcare plan. 

For more information, contact the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (Groupe Relations Internationales - 69907 Lyon Cedex 20) or your student mutual healthcare plan (LMDE or SMERRA). 

What you need to know
You become affiliated when you register at your institute of higher learning. To access the student social security regime, you must: 
- be enrolled in an institute of higher learning that entitles you to be covered by student social security
- be less than 28 years old 
- present a document or permit certifying that your stay is lawful and a birth certificate with a translation (except for documents in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and German). 
It is not necessary to affiliate with the student social security regime if you already have health insurance for the university year in your country of origin: 
- students from the EEA and Switzerland who hold a European Health Insurance Card (or card certification) or certification of private insurance that covers them for the university year (from October 1 to September 30 of the following year), without a deductible or ceiling amount, contract in French with an indication of duration and validity. Remember to have your European Card validated for third-party payments when you arrive in France (this can be done by the CPAM or your mutual healthcare provider). 
However, we strongly recommend taking out insurance to cover repatriation in case of a serious or long-lasting illness.

You may be eligible for Universal Healthcare Coverage (Couverture Maladie Universelle, or CMU) if you meet the income requirements and have lived lawfully in France for at least three months.  

For more information see obtaining medical care and the Lyon hospital website. 
The Lyon urban area has many hospital establishments: 
- Public hospital or private Social-Security-authorized clinic: healthcare is reimbursed at 80% for the first month. For surgery, reimbursement is 100%. 
- Private clinic not authorized by social security: reimbursement is approximately 10% of costs. 

If you are hospitalized, you must pay a hospital fee of 18 euros per day to cover lodging expenses. You will be reimbursed for this bill if you have subscribed to a mutual healthcare plan (LMDE or SMERRA). 
In principle, healthcare is the same everywhere. But, depending on the type of establishment, you will be more or less fully reimbursed. Except for emergencies, of course, it's better to obtain this information before being hospitalized. 

Reimbursement of healthcare expenses
To avoid outlays for healthcare expenses, use your "Carte Vitale" to obtain "third-party payment" and pay only what is not reimbursed. 

How to obtain a reimbursement: 
The first time you request a reimbursement, send or take your treatment form to your mutual healthcare provider after it has been filled in by your doctor and signed, along with a RIB (link to glossary) identifying your bank account and a photocopy of your residence permit or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). 


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