Can over-70s get health in­sur­ance?

French Property News - - Ask The Experts -

My hus­band and I have a hol­i­day home in France where we would like to spend up to five con­sec­u­tive months each year. We are over 70 and one of us has a med­i­cal con­di­tion com­mon to many older peo­ple. Do you know of any in­sur­ers who spe­cialise in med­i­cal cover for sec­ond home own­ers or who would cover us for this pe­riod? I have only been able to find cover for 90 days and at a very high premium. Name sup­plied

Paulette Booth, Se­nior In­ter­na­tional Client Man­ager at Agence Axa In­ter­na­tional (axa-in-france.fr) replies: Firstly, you need to make sure you have an up-to-date Euro­pean Health In­sur­ance Card, com­monly known as an EHIC card. [These will re­main in use un­til Brexit; ne­go­ti­a­tions on re­cip­ro­cal health­care are yet to be fi­nalised.]

You can learn about the EHIC and how to ap­ply or re­new on the NHS web­site which states: “A valid EHIC gives you the right to ac­cess state-pro­vided health­care dur­ing a tem­po­rary stay in an­other Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area (EEA) coun­try or Switzer­land.” Find out more at nhs.uk/ us­ing-the-nhs/health­care-abroad/ap­ply-for-afree-ehic-euro­pean-health-in­sur­ance-card/

While this cover gives you ac­cess to statepro­vided health­care dur­ing a tem­po­rary stay, the treat­ment and re­fund will be on the same ba­sis as it would be for a res­i­dent in that coun­try. Most health­care in France is re­funded at around 70% of the base de rem­bourse­ment (less for den­tal and op­ti­cal). This is the limit set by l’as­sur­ance Mal­adie for the cost of treat­ment. Some con­sul­tants and pro­ce­dures will cost more than the base de rem­bourse­ment.

On this ba­sis, you will need to cover an av­er­age of 30% of the cost of treat­ment your­self for any treat­ment in France.

To bridge this gap, in­sur­ance com­pa­nies of­fer an EHIC top-up pol­icy. Agence AXA In­ter­na­tional’s pol­icy, for ex­am­ple, has no ex­clu­sions for pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions and there is no up­per age limit. The pol­icy also cov­ers repa­tri­a­tion and fu­neral ex­penses in the un­for­tu­nate event these are re­quired. You can set the pol­icy up for the five months you will be in France. If you de­cide to stay an ex­tra month or so the pol­icy can eas­ily be ex­tended. Each time you are stay­ing at your hol­i­day home you can ar­range the EHIC top-up pol­icy. If you pre­fer a longer term or a more per­ma­nent so­lu­tion, you can also con­sider a stand-alone an­nual pri­vate health­care pol­icy. As this cover is ar­ranged for the whole year it is more ex­pen­sive, and there may be age re­stric­tions. In your cir­cum­stances, the EHIC top-up sounds like the best so­lu­tion, while the UK is part of the EU/EEA.

an­swers p85

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