Paying for healthcare
Even after you’ve registered with the French state health system, you’ll need to pay for most appointments with a doctor, dentist or optician upfront yourself. You will also need to pay for prescriptions from a pharmacy upfront. The state will usually give you some of the money back a few days later via your Carte Vitale.
If you don’t have a Carte Vitale, you’ll need to get a feuille de soins (healthcare form) from the doctor, dentist, optician or pharmacy. Fill it in and send it to your health insurer.
If you need more expensive treatment, such as a stay in hospital, your state health cover or your private health insurer will usually pay for this directly. However, you will still need the right paperwork to show when you go into hospital.
If your doctor thinks you need medicine, they’ll write a prescription – une ordonnance. Prescriptions are only valid for a certain amount of time. The amount of time depends on the medicine prescribed.
If you need a repeat prescription, your doctor may write one that lasts several months. The pharmacy will stamp it each time you collect your medicines. After this period, you’ll usually have to see your doctor again for a new prescription.
You may be able to have your repeat prescriptions delivered to your home address. You can also collect prescriptions on behalf of another person: you’ll need their forename, surname, and the name of the doctor who wrote the prescription.