Expert advice

Johanna Matthews answers a reader’s question about staying in a French hospital

Q I am shortly due to go into hospital in France and I have heard various stories of what people have to pay for. What do I need to be made aware of? J. Parker, Brittany

A When you are hospitalised in France, whether it is for surgery or medical treatment, the ward and food costs are listed separately on the clinic/hospital invoice and designated under different categories.

For a planned operation, which will be identified by a code ‘CCAM’ Classification Commune des Actes Médicaux, the costs are controlled by the tarif de convention – as set out by the French health authorities. However, it should be noted that some specialists could charge above the tarif de convention for their expertise: this is called dépassement d’honoraires.

There will be general running costs for administration charges, called ‘forfait journalier’ of €18 a day.

Providing you are affiliated into the French healthcare system and your health rights are still valid, then your medical treatment will most likely be honoured up to 80% by your healthcare provider CPAM/RSI/RAM. (There are exceptions that are covered 100% by the healthcare system.) The remaining 20% will effectively be at your expense as well as the forfait journalier, unless you have a complementary health insurance policy in place. If this is the case, the hospital will normally invoice your insurance company direct.

Typical costs for 20% of the expenses in relation to three weeks’ admission in a medical ward in the Calvados area in 2012 amounted to €3,718 plus 23 days’ forfait journalier amounting to €414.

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A typical charge for ambulance costs, where an order for transport has been authorised, amounts to €660. Of that 65% is covered by CPAM/RSI/RAM, leaving 35% at your charge representing €231.

Anaesthetists are a separate entity and will also require payment. Their charge will be made known to you when you go through the preliminary check up.

Johanna Matthews

Johanna Matthews works for French insurance specialists Exclusive Healthcare