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Health insurance for Canadians living permanently in France


eleve

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Hi there, I'm so happy I stumbled across this very informative forum.  I've been scanning the health section trying to find answers to my problem but our situation is kind of unique so I'm starting a new thread to see if anyone has any idea how we can get reasonably priced health coverage.  Here are the details.

- My husband and I moved here from Canada with our kids in Sept 2008 (with my Dutch

passport).

- My husband has his Titre de Sejour.

- We do not work for a French company.

- My husband is the sole breadwinner and works for a Canadian company online

- It is our own company registered in Canada as a corporation, thus my husband is registered as a salaried employee

- We pay income tax in Canada but not in France (because we don't work for any French employer)

- We own a property in France which we live at full time, and pay the corresponding property and habitation taxes

- 4 of us are still covered under our Canadian health insurance but that will no longer be possible in Sept 2010 (as it is only good for 2 years after leaving the country)

- We have 3 children, one of whom was born here in France and so is currently not covered under our Canadian medical insurance

- Problems: We currently pay all of our medical expenses out of pocket, on a very low Canadian income. One of us (our baby) has no health insurance at all which would be terrible in case of accident/emergency. The rest of us will have no health insurance after August this year. 

Any ideas how we can get reasonably priced health insurance in France?  I applied at CPAM and they said not possible.  I called CPAM's hotline and they told me to go back to the local CPAM office and apply for CMU but I heard from someone on this site that CMU will not be possible either.  I got a quote for private insurance from MMA (with home we have all our other insurances in France) but it was outrageous - it was €399/month which we simply cannot afford.  Please do not respond to this query with "just get a job in France" because we are working on that.  In the meantime, we urgently need health insurance right now.  Any info would be much appreciated.

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It is our own company registered in Canada as a corporation, thus my husband is registered as a salaried employee

My understanding is that if your derriere is in France, you should be paying in France, furthermore  I don't think the choice is yours. In this case it would seem on the face of it that changing where your company is set up could safe guard all the families  health care. ( Some one will corect me if I'm wrong I'm sure)

You should perhaps look at postings by Coops, which would give you idea of the figures if things go wrong - truly scary

Good Luck in finding a solution

 

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As far as I understand it your Canadian corporation should have set up a local entity for you to work through. That entity would have then been obliged to pay cotisations which would have provided for your health care.

Without this your position at the moment is illegal and entirely untenable.

€399/mth for private insurance for a family of 5 is not at all unreasonable IMO.

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These replies feel very hostile, I'm not sure why.

Our position is far from illegal.

As I explained the company is our own (started in Canada back in the early 90's). Our clients are Canadian and pay us in Canadian dollars. We are paying taxes in Canada.

What exactly is meant by "setting up a local entity?" Do you mean gaining French clients who pay in Euros? This is something that will obviously take some time.

Regardless of employment or business expansion options, right now we need a way to get health insurance.

I suppose the answer being provided here is very simple:

Replies are indicating that there is no way to get anything EXCEPT private health insurance in our current position, and that a quote for €399/month for a family of 5 for private health insurance in France is quite average and normal. Have I interpreted correctly?
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I do hope that you don't really feel or think that people are "hostile".  Admittedly, it could come across like that because your position, whilst quite complex, is by no means unknown or unique.  Let's say some posters are "forthright " where they perceive that your position here is not strictly regular.

As I understand it, if you are working in France, be your clients all Canadians and pay you in Canadian dollars or whatever, the fact of your living here full time is indisputable and therefore you should be under the French regime both for paying taxes and, of course, for obtaining your health care (which is what you seem to be most anxious about, and rightly so.)

Certainly, in these days of business being conducted on the internet (and sometimes the business has no "physical" presence), it's easy to think your business is still based in your home country where you know the rules and regulations and everything seems simpler.  However, if you live here full-time and conduct your business in France, then your business should be registered in France.

As explained by others, if you are paying French taxes and cotisations through your business, then access to the health services is part and parcel of that.

I hope I've got it right.  If not, someone more knowledgeable will be along soon enough to tell me so in no uncertain terms!

I don't normally stick my oar in on subjects of which I only have a partial understanding but, as you are new on the Forum, I didn't like you to feel in anyway discriminated against.  I have re-read some of the answers to you post and they don't appear to be hostile to me.

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 No one means to be hostile eleve, but I would suggest that people who have read your post think that you are in a bigger hole than you appreciate.

In France it is the law you pay tax on your world wide income, so no matter where income is derived from you should be declaring your income and sending in a French tax return.  Have you done that ?

I think I am right in saying that if Canada and France have a reciprocal arrangement you wouldn't pay twice. How you deal with transfers of monies from Canadain clients to France is up to you, but you obviously already do it.

My feeling is that you should consult with an accountant toute suite and look to regularize your situation, there are different regimes that may need to be considered, many people find they pay less tax in France, its not all bad !

Please  get that babies healthcare covered......

 

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"...you should be under the French regime both for paying taxes and, of course, for obtaining your health care (which is what you seem to be most anxious about..."

It feels like people are implying (with comments like the one above) that we're trying to avoid paying taxes here or something... when in fact that's not the case at all. If that were the case I wouldn't be here on this forum trying to figure things out. To be fair, you probably aren't aware of the fact that I'm in the process of registering our household with the French tax system - thanks to the non-judgmental info provided by NormanH in the separate thread called Avis D'Imposition, which was supported with a very helpful link to http://www.impots.gouv.fr/portal/dgi/public/particuliers.impot;jsessionid=VP1CF0LO1FFT3QFIEMQCFFWAVARXAIV1espId=1&pageId=part_impot_revenu&impot=IR&sfid=50

I'll register with the tax office first and figure out the rest from there. It is interesting that *none* of the 4 French government officials to whom I related our story (at the two nearest mairie's, CPAM office, and CPAM hotline) told me we needed to register under the French tax regime in spite of having no French employment (and yes, I told them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth). If I hadn't come across the Avis d'Imposition thread in this forum, I still wouldn't have known.

Signing off.
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 Look, I was only trying to explain, in my simple way, that people are not necessarily "hostile" to you and I THOUGHT I was extending the hand of friendship to a new Forum member.

When I said you should be paying French taxes and accessing French health services, I thought I was only stating the obvious.  Where is the implication that you are avoiding paying taxes? Certainly, if you thought I'd implied anything like that, then I can assure you that that was not my intention.  In fact, I SHOULD tell you that I was trying to be reassuring (see, different uses of the word "should":  in the first person, it is often used as a tentative suggestion).

And why, when you do quote me, you omit the last bit of the quote?  You see, it's the last bit where I said, .."what you seem to be most anxious about, AND RIGHTLY SO"... that is the important part and should (should again, LOL) have alerted you to the fact that I was merely concerned that you got yourself and your family into the health service.

However, as you seem resolved to see me, amongst others, as hostile, then you will be greatly relieved to know that I shall take no further part in your threads.  You might feel misunderstood and hard done by but, believe me, you do not have a monopoly on such feelings!

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eleve, you wouldn't be the  first person who had fallen foul of the system just through ignorance of the regulations. No one has suggested you are intentionally doing anything illegal, nor has any one been hostile, and we know its never pleasant when you don't get the answers you are hoping for.

As I said there are different regimes and ways for you to do business and you really need the advice of an accountant to find the best way for you.

 

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Hi

It's simple Eleve, if you intend to continue to work for your Canadian business then you set up a Fench office of this buisness and pay taxes etc to France on your income, this will give you access to the French health system. There is no other way to gain entrance leaving only private healthcare as an option. I have to agree also that 399 per month is a low quote, to gain health care in france is not cheap, if you are payiing into the system as above it will likely be more than 399 per month.

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Which is what I said in my not intended to be hostile or accusatory response [;-)]

I'm sorry but intentional or not your position is illegal because you are carrying on a business outwith the law in France and whilst this may well the result of ignorance or being given misleading or incorrect information I'm afraid it does not alter the facts.

I think you are getting yourself in a bit of a twist too with your comments about registering with the French tax system. In essence this is a personal thing and nothing to do with your business activities. If you were properly established as a business then it would automatically be registered in the tax system.

Perhaps some of the answers and advice you received from the Mairie and CPAM etc. were wrong not because you didn't tell the truth but because because you didn't tell them about your Canadian business. I say this because I cannot understand how, if they knew you were running a business in or from France, they would not have told you that your health cover would be taken care of by it.

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[quote user="AnOther"]

Perhaps some of the answers and advice you received from the Mairie and CPAM etc. were wrong

[/quote]

Or just plain ignorance on their part.

I'm continually amazed by French peoples' reaction when told by us that of course we declare/pay tax here because it's the law.

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[quote user="eleve"]" It is interesting that *none* of the 4 French government officials to whom I related our story (at the two nearest mairie's, CPAM office, and CPAM hotline) told me we needed to register under the French tax regime in spite of having no French employment (and yes, I told them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth). If I hadn't come across the Avis d'Imposition thread in this forum, I still wouldn't have known.

Signing off.[/quote]

This is not at all surprising.  When my husband first went to the tax office to start the ball rolling (ie it get the forms to submit a tax form) they said he didn't need to fill one in (which was wrong as he was resident, but a couple of months early for the forms) , and were more concerned that somehow he hadn't paid his tax fonc (because he hadn't had a bill as it turned out), and they got that sorted pronto, and did nothing about him paying tax.  It took another year or two to get it sorted, and even then he was given incorrect advice - so it is quite true that officals do not always know the correct procedure.

The advice you have been given so far (whether you think they are being hostile or not) is correct, the fact still is that it is up to anyone resident in France to fill in a tax form (which does not mean you will necessarily pay tax, especially if there are double taxation treaties involved), but as has rightly been said, getting into the French tax system gives you all sorts of benefits, from access to health care (possibly) to tax reductions on environmentally friendly projects - all of which are only available to French residents (which is usually proved by filling in a tax form). 

Once resident, running a business produces a whole lot more difficulties, but getting it registered here can be a good way into the system - many people have set up an auto-entrepreneur business solely to get into the system.

Talking to good accountant would seem to be the quickest and best way to get started.

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Eleve, in most countries, liability to personal income and capital gains tax, is on a persons wordlwide income and gains. The fact that your business is in Canada and all your customers Canadian, is irrelevant, as you should have been filing an annual tax return in France since your arrival and declaring your worldwide income and gains. If as you say is the case you have been paying Canadian tax on your income, then you should qualify for a tax credit in France under the French/Canadian double tax treaty, so you are not taxed twice. But if the calculated French tax liability is higher than the tax you paid in Canada, you will have to pay the difference.

I don't think the other posters were being hostile, just highlighting that unwittingly you may have been acting illegally in France in not filing an annual tax return and that you should take professional advice on sorting this out and hopefully mitigating any penalties involved.
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  • 2 weeks later...
 A benefit is a health care service or supply that is paid

for in part or in full by Medicare. There are substantial uncovered costs that

a supplemental policy can help with. It is important for you to understand that Medicare does not

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supplies that are covered.The amount of your coverage is also dependent on whether you

have coverage under Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or both. Medicare Part A

typically pays for your inpatient hospital expenses and Medicare Part B

typically covers your outpatient health care expenses including doctor fees.

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