This post was most recently updated on March 1st, 2021
SECU, Ameli, Carte Vitale, a few terms you might have heard thrown around when it comes to health coverage in France. Securité Social (SECU) is the complex public health system that covers all persons in France. There are several factors that tie into the ability to receive these benefits once on French soil; some factors include: residency status, work status (employed, unemployed or self-employed), nationality. Also, one needs to be in France for 3 months before being able to apply for a number and the famed Carte Vitale.
The charges sociales (healthcare charges) are a percentage that is calculated from your taxable income; which comes out to be about 25% of the gross pay. Under this system, one is entitled to health, sickness, maternity, work injury, unemployment, widow(er)’s and death benefits, and numerous other benefits as well. Most allocations (benefits) are paid as a percentage of your salary rather than at a flat rate, which are subject to minimum and maximum payments (you must be employed for a minimum time period and/or earn a minimum salary to qualify for certain benefits).
The Application Process
I took my chance and applied to sécurité sociale (public healthcare) during the middle of confinement (lockdown) n°1. I figured why not, I’ll most likely get my number after the renewal of my titre de séjour (residency permit). To the best of my knowledge, I had not received one during my year abroad in 2002/03. So I was not “rattaché à un régime e sécurité sociale français” (linked to a French healthcare plan).
You can find the form you need to fill out here to make your request. You can either drop your form and paperwork off at your local CPAM office (caisse primaire d’assurance maladie, primary health insurance office). The site has a search bar where you can add your postal code into the bar and it will give you the information of the nearest office to your location.
Documents Needed :
I sent my application via the post on the 11th of May to the following address:
Assurance Maladie de Paris
75948 PARIS CEDEX 19
One month later (16/06/2020), I received a correspondence that included my temporary healthcare number and a note form to declare my general practitioner. This needed to be done in order for me to be able to be reimbursed (financially) properly by the system. You can find the form to make your request here. I started to do my research on doctor’s offices near me that would be a good choice. My MIL ending up finding the perfect one!
On the 22nd July, I received another correspondence informing me of how I can apply for my carte Vitale (healthcare card), as well as another piece of mail informing me of my official registration number for my healthcare coverage!
I had not received my temporary code to sign up for my Ameli account online. I called the 3646 number and the kind lady on the other end sent my one via text during our call. With the code, I was able to create my online account and apply for my carte vitale through my account. So thankful that my husband is a whiz when it comes to photos and Photoshop, I was able to upload a photo easier than having one printed out. You can go to any photomaton to get your photos printed and send them in with your paper application.
Two weeks later, my glorious green card arrived in the mail! It arrived while we were on vacation and just in time for my appointments with OFII. What a sigh of relief! One thing I can tick off my list of slowly becoming French. One administration hurdle I overcame without a hitch.