Health: how to reduce expenses? – Access to health care

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Many French people forgo medical treatment for financial reasons. At a time when there is a lot of talk about purchasing power, it becomes essential to reduce expenses. We have identified nine solutions for cheaper treatment.

1. Opt for a 100% health benefit.

The 100% health reform (rest at no cost) has one goal: to fight the renunciation of treatment. The government is committed to ensuring that all French people benefit from itfull coverage of care and equipment in three areas: auditory (hearing aids), optics (eyeglasses) and dental (dental prostheses).

All care and equipment included in 100% Health are therefore fully covered, mainly funded by your mutual insurance. Complementary health insurance entities (OCAM) finance 77% of this reform, according to the National Union of OCAM. If your doctor does not offer them spontaneously, do not hesitate to discuss them with him.

Thanks to 100% Health, it is possible to benefit from the rest at no cost on some equipment such as eyeglasses. Photo credit: Adobe Stock.

2. Choose a specialist doctor 1

There are two categories of qualified doctors: those in sector 1 and those in sector 2. The first single study no surcharge, while the latter are free to set their own prices. Their excess fees are not covered by health insurance, but may be covered, in whole or in part, by your mutual insurance (depending on the contract).

Note, however, that some doctors in sector 2 have signed a tariff-controlled practice option contract with the Health Insurance (OPTAM)which generates fewer overruns and higher reimbursements for both social security and complementary health care.

Unlike sector 2 excluding OPTAM, a consultation with an industry doctor 1 will be covered by social security and your supplementary health insurance, with, however, a residual expense of one euro. One of the cheapest ways to get treatment is therefore to go to a sector 1 doctor or an OPTAM doctor. Before your consultation, you can identify the sector to which your doctor is connected on the website and its possible membership of OPTAM if it is in sector 2.

3. Benefit from a free health check-up

Health insurance offers free health checks every five years to general and agricultural (MSA) policyholders as well as their dependent family members. A priority is given in particular to young people between 16 and 25 and to people between 60 and 75 (shortest time to get an appointment).

It also offers health insurance a free oral test, “MT’dents” (reserved for children from 3 to 24 years old). They benefit from this examination every three years during which the doctor checks the health of their teeth and gums.

4. Go to the national screening days

Some preventive measures are accessible even without paying the minimum euro. Therefore, several diseases are the subject of national screening campaigns. The National Day of skin cancer screening, for example, it takes place every year in June, now over several days. On this occasion, hundreds of dermatologists provide, on a voluntary basis, anonymous and free screening consultations (more information on the website

Other screening operations are organized nationally throughout the year: National Diabetes Prevention Week (September, information on, Hepatitis C Test Day (October), National AMD Screening Day to prevent macular degeneration (November) …

5. Use mutual assistance and support services

Open to all persons with social insurance, whether or not they are members of a mutual insurance company, the provision of Mutual Health Care and Support Services (SSAM) medical, dental and nursing care at conventional rates at no extra cost. As for free-priced equipment (optics, dentures, hearing aids), their prices are adjusted to leave patients with a minimal fee. These SSAM also practice third party payment (i.e. no advance on costs) on the mandatory plan.

There are a few throughout France, some of which are managed by Groupe VYV. Find all these establishments on the website of the French National Federation of Mutual Insurance.

Among the mutual health care and support services (SSAM), there are dental care centers. IStock photo credit.

6. Check your eligibility for supplementary health insurance

If you have financial difficulties in accessing care, you could benefit from complementary health solidarity (CSS). To be eligible for CSS, you don’t have to exceed a resource limit. This varies according to the composition of your household (the website provides all the necessary information). It should be noted that the attribution of the CSS is automatic for the beneficiaries of Active Solidarity Income (RSA).

CSS beneficiaries do not pay for consultancy (doctor, dentist, nurse, etc.), neither drugs nor medical devices (bandages, cane, wheelchair, etc.). They also don’t have to pay most of the expenses for glasses, hearing aids, or dentures.

7. Get a refund for sessions from the shrink

With the MonPsy device, you can benefit eight free annual sessions with a psychologist. You must first speak to your doctor to make sure MonPsy is right for your situation. If he agrees, you can start your eight sessions face to face or at a distance (the first session must be face to face).

For this it is necessary make an appointment with one of the partner psychologists of the operationthe list of which is online at

8. Consult a medical training institution

Schools that train future professionals sometimes offer assistance at reduced rates. Example: osteopaths. An osteopathy session costs an average of 55 euros and is not covered by health insurance. Students at the end of the course, followed by experienced professionals, provide assistance at a reduced cost (about 15 euros) in the 31 accredited osteopathic schools. Information on this topic is available on the website of the French Osteopaths Union.

The same process can be done in podiatry. Going to one of the 14 podiatry training institutes allows you to benefit from a consultancy fee of around 10 euros, compared to 35 euros for the average price of a pedicure treatment (source: Ordre national des pédicures-podologues).

9. Adapt your supplementary health insurance to your needs

Revising your complementary health contract can also be a source of improvement in your purchasing power. Over time, it needs to change and some of them no longer require coverage, or through different guarantees. When a child acquires his autonomy, for example, it is necessary to think about withdrawing him from the health contract.

You shouldn’t hesitate to do this check regularly with your advisor. This exchange will give you the opportunity to finalize your contract and fix the collateral you need and could do without.

In numbers


It is the percentage of French who in recent years have given up going to the general practitioner when they needed it. This rate rises to 42% for medical specialists.

26% of them explain this renunciation for economic reasons.

Source: Viavoice / Essentiel Santé Magazine study, June 2022.

€ 550

Was the average price of a ceramic crown before the 100% health reform.. Once the reimbursement of 355 euros by the health insurance and the mortgage was made, approximately 195 euros of expenses remained to be borne by the insured. Since the health basket is 100%, the rest to be paid is zero.

Source: health insurance.


This is the percentage of French people who said they had it already heard of 100% Health in 2021.

Source: study by the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DRES).

  • Jean Chezaubernard
  • Photo credit: Getty Images

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