An important factor on the minds of most retirees when seeking a property overseas is the healthcare provision available and the convenience of this. The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its last World Health report 2000 ranked France as the first in the world for healthcare, followed by Italy. Here, Jeanne Boden, Team Manager and Director of La Durantie offers some tips and advice from her 18 years living in The Tarn in South West France with her family of four and shares her good experience of the local healthcare system.
“My experience with our family of four has been exceptional over the last 18 years living in the Tarn. We are fortunate in Castelnau de Montmiral to have three wonderful GP’s, four community nurses, a physiotherapist and a pharmacy who really know all their patients in the old fashioned way – it is a community of 1,000 people but with access to Albi and Toulouse for specialists and consultants.
“If you are a UK pensioner or currently paying NI contributions it is important to realise that you are entitled to reciprocal French healthcare which is excellent.
“Take the precaution to obtain your S1 certificate from HMRC as soon as you know your French address and from when you will be living there full time. This can take 2-3 months to obtain so plan ahead!
“Once you have this form send or take it to your local Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie or CPAM in France. They will then process you a ‘carte vitale’ which is a green ‘credit card’ with your photo and French social security number. Keep this card with you at all times as it is swiped for any medical care you receive anywhere in France. This covers 60-70% of any bill and prescription. (A visit to your GP is currently 23€).
“It is up to you if you then wish to choose a top-up insurance, or ‘Mutual’ to cover the shortfall. For this, shop around a bit with insurance companies to get the right type of cover for yourself. For example if you are likely to need a lot of eye or dental treatment, make sure this is listed in the cover.
“The French take great care of themselves and do not hesitate to visit the surgery or even emergency services if it is out of hours! In France when you go for an X-ray, scan or blood tests, you are responsible for your documents and carry them to your various consultants, which means the consultants have instant access to your files because it is you bringing them in.
“In rural areas and medium size towns generally you’re dealt with very quickly – test results are received within 24 hours and X-rays and scans handed out half an hour after they are done. – Nurses do house visits for routine dressings and injections on their rounds, but you are responsible for buying all the vaccines or bandages, so when the nurse visits a person they have the equipment and prescriptions already ordered.”
The chateau country club, spa and new homes that form La Durantie have been planned particularly with active retirees in mind. British award winning Developer Tony Dowse of Environ Communities (www.environcommunities.com) is also the Master Planner behind La Durantie who is renovating and developing the historical belle époque style chateau and 15 hectare estate. He has designed the development to suit a ‘new breed’ of retirees, more of which are finding themselves single in their latter years. “With the downsizing trend looking set to continue, there is a gap in the market for active retirees who are not ready for a retirement home but would enjoy a level of social interaction in a like-minded and cultured community. Hence we have not merely renovated this belle époque chateau and chopped it up into flats but have turned it into a country club at the social heart of the development for all to appreciate and enjoy,” explains Tony.
See attached details and images of Le Castelnau, 3 bedroom home at La Durantie (€491,920/approx.£404,100).
If you choose to include any of this information please credit Jeanne Boden and include the website www.durantie.com and / or Tel: +44 (0)1732 848316.