Private Health Insurance in France

Among OECD countries, the share of health care financed by private insurance is in France (12%) third highest behind the US and the Netherlands. France’s high rate of private insurance coverage (percentage of the population with complementary coverage (incl. publicly funded) reached 92%) is partly explained by historical factors and partly by the preferential tax treatment of employer-sponsored coverage (roughly half of all contracts are obtained through the workplace). Unlike in other countries, private insurance in France is not used to jump public sector queues or to obtain access to elite providers. Rather, it provides reimbursement for co-payments required by the public system and coverage for medical goods and services that are poorly covered by the public system, most notably dental and optical care. Considerable research indicates that by reducing (and in some cases eliminating) out-of-pocket costs, private insurance significantly increases medical care utilisation.

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