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La mutuelle or complementary health insurance is optional. It provides medical coverage. Social Security does not fully cover medical bills. The mutuelle covers most or all of the remainder. It is important to have a mutuelle when medical costs are high (example: operations, dental and vision fees...) This significantly lowers out of pocket expenses.

Note : It is not possible to purchase complementary insurance without a social security number (to register with the CPAM, see our column « Couverture santé » (health coverage)).

Two options are available for the scientist and his/her family :

  • A Mutuelle offered by the employer

In general, salaried employees are offered collective complementary health insurance by their employer. This has become mandatory in the private sector. This is however not obligatory in the public sector. In case complementary health insurance is not provided, one must buy it from an insurance company.

    • Complementary health insurance bought through a company.

    Each mutuelle has varying coverage and pricing. It is important to compare the different quotes.

    We can also provide a non-exhaustive list of mutuelles.

    There is also what is called the Couverture Maladie Universelle Complémentaire (CMU-C) which is a complementary health insurance designed for lower incomes. The requirements for eligibility are a visitor card, residence in France of at least three months and depend on your annual income.