Expatriates, whether students, employees, free-lance workers, retired people or globe-trotters, unlike people on temporary assignment abroad, are not eligible for healthcare and death & disability coverage provided by the French Social Security system. In certain cases, they are required to contribute to local social security basic schemes which do not reimburse healthcare expenses at the same rate, nor provide the same level of coverage on occasional trips to France.
Expatriates should be aware that healthcare costs vary greatly from one country to another, and can far exceed costs covered by French complementary insurance plans ("mutuelle"). For example, a visit to a general practitioner in the USA costs on average €90. Daily hospital fees in Switzerland can reach €2,500 as opposed to €1,000 in France.
An expatriate who enrolls in a local insurance plan runs the risk of:
An employee who has signed an employment contract with a company whose head office is in France, and who is sent on assignment abroad, is considered by the French Social Security system as a détaché, or employee on assignment.
The length of assignment is limited to a period between six months and five years according to French Social Security agreements. Both the détaché and their employer continue to contribute to the French Social Security system to ensure that the employee receives continuous coverage against all risks. In order for the employee to receive reimbursements, an agreement must be signed between the country of assignment and France (cf. www.cleiss.fr).
Détaché status is by no means obligatory; it is for the company to choose or refuse. An employee is a détaché when their employer decides that the French Social Security legislation will continue to apply throughout the employee’s temporary professional assignment abroad.
An employee is considered an expatriate by the French Social Security under the following circumstances: they have signed a contract that falls under foreign legislation; they have been directly recruited by a foreign company or by a foreign subsidiary; their assignment exceeds five years; they obtain expat status in a country that has not signed an agreement with France; they are going abroad for personal reasons (business, vacation, study, Working Holiday Visa, etc.).
In order to maintain the same level of coverage provided by the French Social Security in the country of expatriation and during trips to France and abroad, expatriates have two options:
Enrollment with the CFE is a personal choice and must be decided on an individual basis. CFE contribution rates are determined according to the expatriate’s particular circumstances: age, income, professional status. The biggest advantage of CFE coverage is that the individual remains linked to the French system and benefits from uninterrupted coverage upon return to France.
Comprehensive coverage as of the first Euro is a better option for you if you do not wish to maintain the link with French Social Security. In some cases, the first Euro option has proved less cumbersome, but the choice remains an individual one and it may be necessary to compare rates.
The medical assistance coverage included with French credit cards is only valid for the first three months of a stay abroad. Ongoing treatment or treatment following an accident that occurs during this time are not covered beyond this initial period and may not be covered by insurance purchased after the fact.
Moreover, insurance provided by credit cards may have deductibles or consist solely of cash advances.
In order to leave in perfect peace of mind, we recommend you sort out several health matters first: update vaccinations, have a dental exam (very important), and if need be, get a medical check-up and ask your doctor for a medical certificate. This will enable you to practice all sorts of sports worry-free (scuba diving, for example).
We also recommend that you leave your insurance policy number and contact details of the insurance company with a family member or friend, as well as your address abroad and a number where you can be reached.
We have forged partnerships with major players in insurance such as AXA and LE GAN, and work closely with assistance companies renowned for their experience and expertise such as Europ Assistance.
We are also the number-one partner for complementary coverage to the Caisse des Français de l’Etranger (CFE). All policies and reimbursement procedures are handled swiftly and efficiently from one centralized office.
With over 15 years of experience in providing individual healthcare insurance for expatriates, ASFE goes to great lengths to make life easier for its members. ASFE means:
There might be many causes for disputes in ordinary lifehellip; The legal protection insurance provides you with the legal and financial resources you require in order to inform, assist and defend you to assert and exercise your rights. You will find more information on this type of coverage in our information guides.
In France, third-party liability insurance is usually included in our home insurance plan. Expatriates may not realize, however, that this insurance is not valid abroad. This can be a problem in countries where people are prone to press charges. Third-party liability insurance alone that covers the entire world is costly and prices vary widely from country to country. That is why it is automatically included in most ASFE packages. You will find more information on this type of coverage in our information guides.
It may sometimes be necessary to seek medical treatment in a neighboring country with medical facilities that are better equipped to administer quality care. That is why it is important to be covered by a plan that includes medical evacuation and repatriation. This type of coverage has considerable advantages not to be underestimated in certain circumstances, such as travel expenses for the expatriate to visit a hospitalized relative, or in the event of a death, or for a relative to visit the expatriate in case they are alone and hospitalized for over five days. You will find more information on this type of coverage in our information guides.
Because we know that an accident or sickness can entail much more than just medical fees, we recommend death and disability coverage as well. This guarantees maintenance of your lifestyle in case of work disability or sick leave, and avoids financial distress for your family in case of death. This coverage is included in our comprehensive packages and available à la carte according to the level of coverage chosen.
You can do the following on our fully secure website:
Coverage limits depend on the type of plan.
It depends on the policy, but in general the following is not covered:
Healthcare coverage does not apply to the practice of certain extreme sports such as airborne sports, combat sport and high mountain climbing.
In our Start'Expat plan, extreme sports other than those listed above, are not excluded from coverage if they are not practiced in a Sports Association, Club or during competitions or championships.
If you practice one or more of these sports, we recommend you do so as a member of a Sports Association or Club. Licensed practice is usually covered in case of an accident.
Healthcare costs vary from one country to another. To offer you the best quality/price ratio wherever you are, we organize our products and services according to five geographic zones.
Yes, luggage insurance is automatically included in our Start’Expat plan and is effective throughout the entire duration of the policy, and not only during the travel to/from your country of expatriation.
However, our other plans do not provide for such insurance. Therefore loss or theft of luggage is not covered.
Any person of legal age, regardless of their professional status, who is looking for health insurance for themselves or their family while abroad.
Important: age limits to purchase insurance and length of stay are different depending on the plan.
You can enroll in coverage at the earliest two months before departure for the country of expatriation, and at the latest two days before.
We recommend that you enroll as soon as possible, to ensure that coverage begins when you want it to, and that you have all the necessary documents in hand before you leave.
Please note that coverage is not retroactive, that is, with a start date that precedes the date your file was actually received.
ASFE coverage starts at the earliest the day after your enrollment request - including on-line enrollment - is received, on the condition that your medical questionnaire is approved, all original documents submitted and payment settled.
Coverage then starts immediately. However, there may be a waiting period if you were not previously covered by a similar plan (see question re: waiting periods). In any case, you are covered as of the first day after validation of your enrollment in case of hospitalization following an accident or unforeseen illness.
Coverage goes into effect at the earliest the day after your policy is approved and validated or at a later date (on condition that any additional information requested after review of your medical questionnaire is provided). However, a qualifying or waiting period may apply to certain treatment (according to your plan’s conditions) if you were not previously covered under a similar insurance plan. The waiting period is:
All policies remain in effect for a minimum of six months.
Important: the minimum policy term does not apply to Start’Expat plan which can be purchased for 1 month only.
Enrollment in ASFE is easy.
By internet: at www.asfe-expat.com.
By mail: send in the following:
Of course, with ASFE, you are covered:
For the new range of plans (First’Expat +/Relais’Expat +) - after September 2015
With the First’ Expat + and Relais’Expat + plans, you are covered in all the countries included in the selected coverage zone, as well as in the countries of the lower coverage zones, regardless of the type of medical services received (emergency or routine care).
For the START’EXPAT plans :
You are covered worldwide in the event of an accident or unforeseen illness.
Upon enrollment, you will receive a personal insurance ID card with all the contact details of our four claims departments. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our teams speak more than 30 languages, including French, English and Spanish. You can also log in to our secure website, under "Participants' Pages", to review reimbursement procedures, fill out a claim form, view the status of a claim, or obtain hospital precertification agreement.
Upon enrollment with ASFE, you will have access to the "Participants' Pages" of our secure website where you will find a database of recommended doctors and health facilities, their contact details, languages spoken and available services, country by country or by specialty. Our regional headquarters can also provide you with this information.
Upon enrollment, you will receive a personal insurance ID card with all the contact details of your claims department. You or hospital personnel can contact us from anywhere in the world for hospital precertification. We strongly recommend you keep this card on you at all times and present it upon arrival in a hospital.
Yes, your dependents are entitled to the same coverage as you, unless otherwise specified by our consulting physician upon enrollment.
No. We can process claims in any language and deal with healthcare expenses in over 150 currencies. We use the exchange rate published by Natixis the last day of the month prior to the date healthcare was administered to calculate reimbursements.
No. The duration of coverage specified in each plan must be respected. If you are not sure how long you will be abroad, we recommend enrolling for one month with the option to renew for 1 or 12 months upon written request sent by e-mail to our enrollment department up to 15 days prior to policy expiry.
Important: the Start’Expat plan can be renewed twice if you are aged between 16 and 30, and only once if you are over 30.
To the extent that it is possible, you must inform ASFE of the change in country of expatriation at least one month prior to your move. Once ASFE is aware of the change, you can proceed with any changes to your coverage to better meet your needs in the new country. Any modifications will go into effect the first day of the calendar month following your request. If a rate increase applies, you must fill out a new enrollment form. Please note that the insurer has the right to refuse rate increases, accept them within certain limits, or impose additional premiums.
Important: this provision does not apply to Start'Expat plans.
If your family situation changes (marriage, birth, divorce, death of spouse), you must notify ASFE within 30 days and provide official papers (marriage, birth, divorce or death certificate), so that these changes can be incorporated into your policy.