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Private Health Insurance in France


  • Thomas C. Buchmueller

    (University of California)

  • Agnès Couffinhal



While France has a universal public health insurance system, the coverage it provides is incomplete and the vast majority the French population has private complementary health insurance. Among OECD countries, the share of health care financed by private insurance is third highest behind the US and the Netherlands, two countries where private coverage is the primary source of payment for a large percentage of the population. France’s high rate of private insurance coverage is partly explained by historical factors and partly by the preferential tax treatment of employer-sponsored coverage. Because of the high rate of employerprovision – roughly half of all contracts are obtained through the workplace – coverage tends to vary with activity and industry classification. Historically, coverage was also positively related with income. In 2000, the French government introduced a new program, the Couverture Maladie Universelle (CMU), which extended eligibility for publicly funded ... Si la France a un système d'assurance maladie publique universel, la couverture qu'il propose n'est pas complète et la majorité de la population française a une assurance complémentaire privée. La France est le troisième pays de l'OCDE en ce qui concerne la part des dépenses de santé financée par l'assurance privée, après les Etats-Unis et les Pays-Bas, deux pays où l'assurance privée représente la seule source de couverture pour une grande partie de la population. L'importance de l'assurance privée en France s'explique pour partie par des facteurs historiques mais aussi par le traitement fiscal préférentiel dont bénéficient les assurances de groupe. Etant donnée qu'environ la moitié des contrats sont obtenus par le biais de l'emploi, la couverture est très liée à la participation au marché du travail et au secteur d'activité. Historiquement, le taux couverture de la population augmentait avec le revenu. En 2000, le gouvernement a mis en place un nouveau programme public, la ...

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas C. Buchmueller & Agnès Couffinhal, 2004. "Private Health Insurance in France," OECD Health Working Papers 12, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaad:12-en
    DOI: 10.1787/555485381821

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    Cited by:

    1. Meliyanni Johar & Glenn Jones & Michael Keane & Elizabeth Savage & Olena Stavrunova, 2010. "Waiting times and the decision to buy private health insurance. CHERE Working Paper 2010/9," Working Papers 2010/9, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
    2. Izabela Jelovac, 2015. "Physicians’ balance billing, supplemental insurance and access to health care," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 269-280, June.
    3. Carine Franc & Marc Perronnin & Aurélie Pierre, 2016. "Supplemental Health Insurance and Healthcare Consumption—A Dynamic Approach to Moral Hazard," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(12), pages 1582-1598, December.
    4. Pierre, Aurélie & Jusot, Florence, 2017. "The likely effects of employer-mandated complementary health insurance on health coverage in France," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 321-328.
    5. Siadat, Banafsheh & Stolpe, Michael, 2005. "Reforming health care finance: What can Germany learn from other countries?," Kiel Economic Policy Papers 5, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Carine Franc & Marc Perronnin & Aurelie Pierre, 2014. "Supplemental Health Insurance and Healthcare Consumption: A Dynamic Approach to Moral Hazard," Working Papers DT58, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jan 2014.
    7. Omar Paccagnella & Vincenzo Rebba & Guglielmo Weber, 2013. "VOLUNTARY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE AMONG THE OVER 50s IN EUROPE," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 289-315, March.
    8. Aurélie Pierre & Florence Jusot, 2015. "Une évaluation ex ante de la généralisation de la complémentaire santé d’entreprise sur les inégalités et les déterminants de la non-couverture," Working Papers DT67, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jul 2015.
    9. Schroyen, Fred & Aarbu, Karl Ove, 2017. "Attitudes towards large income risk in welfare states: an international comparison," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 20/2017, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    10. Pierre Aurélie & Florence Jusot, 2014. "Quel impact attendre de la généralisation de la complémentaire santé d’entreprise sur le taux de non couverture en France ? Une simulation à partir de l’enquête Santé et Protection Sociale 2012," Post-Print hal-01523722, HAL.
    11. repec:dau:papers:123456789/14333 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Perronnin, Marc, 2013. "Effet de l'assurance complémentaire santé sur les consommations médicales, entre risque moral et amélioration de l'accès aux soins," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/13659 edited by Wittwer, Jérôme, October.
    13. World Bank, . "Kosovo : Health Financing Reform Study," World Bank Other Operational Studies, The World Bank, number 8121, September.
    14. Péron, M.; & Dormont, B.;, 2018. "Heterogeneous moral hazard in Supplementary Health Insurance," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 18/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other

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