What is the Caisse des Français à l’Etranger (CFE)?

The CFE (Caisse des Français de l'Étranger)is the social security scheme for European, French nationals including Swiss living abroad. The CFE is a private organisation responsible for a public service. It is governed by the Social Security Code and placed under the supervision of the ministries in charge of social security and the budget.

The Caisse des Français de l'Étranger (Basic Health scheme European & for French Nationals Abroad) enables French and European including Swiss abroad to keep the Social Security benefits they had in France. The CFE is a private health scheme providing a system of Social Security for European expatriates around the world. The CFE is a basic scheme and any European can join the Caisse des Français à l’Etranger. It is a shield and you an add a Top-Up international health insurance like with a discount around 50% more and depends in zone 1 (See below PDF and attached  – Zone of coverage 1 to 5  and Benefits)

To join the Caisse des Français à l’Etranger, you pay an individual or a family contribution according to your age bracket (See PDF for individual & families but also for corporate) - It is compulsory for French companies to copy and paste the French Social Security system for employees in France if they move abroad including Life and Income protection. It is the law so companies apply for CFE for all risks and international Top-Up.The Belgian plan is similar (ONSS) to the French plan and the discount for the CFE and ONSS is the same.

Zone 1 Europe (See map for countries)  – CFE reimburses 67% full refund regarding Hospitalisation + Outpatient treatment care (around 55% including drugs 65%) – Maternity normal delivery €2,442,91 – Dental Care (30 to 35%) etc.

Barème de remboursement Caisse des Français à l'Etranger

Carte du Monde des zones de remboursement

What does the CFE cover?

Voluntary CFE contribution is done including 3 risks:

Sickness, maternity and Life &  income protection

Work-related accidents and occupational diseases
(social security pension managed by the CNAV)
Long term illnesses or serious illnesses are covered by the CFE Full refund


CFE provides direct billing in France with “Carte Vitale” like a medical card and you do not have to pay, your bill goes to the insurer to manage the difference; they also have an international network for hospitalization & emergency abroad.

Expatriate employees have the option to insure themselves against one or more of these risks, depending on their family situation, the particularities of the country of expatriation and their financial resources. Other French nationals living abroad can insure themselves against the risk of illness and maternity, regardless of their situation.

How much does the Caisse des Français de l'Étranger (CFE) cost? 

CFE premiums are calculated according to your age and your family (solo or family contract). You can estimate the amount of your premiums on the CFE website. By joining the CFE as soon as you leave France, you ensure the continuity of your French social security rights: there is no waiting period. In return. Since January 1, 2020, their scale is expressed as a percentage of the health costs actually incurred or as a fixed amount, and sometimes varies according to the country, divided into 5 zones and age brackets.

What will be their reimbursements?

For example, they are:

70% with a maximum reimbursement limit of €25, for a consultation with a general practitioner or specialist, regardless of your country of residence
55% to 65% full refund for Drugs

35% for dental care, depending on your area of residence;
67% for hospitalisation, again depending in zone 1 and many countries in Europe;
And more…

See how to claim with the CFE & an insurer as a Top-Up

You will therefore have to pay a co-payment, depending on the care provided. Additional reimbursement from an international health insurance company is therefore very often necessary, especially if you are going to live in a country with high healthcare costs.

Caisse des Français de l'Étranger and ThinkCare Medical Insurance as a combo?

It is perfectly possible to combine your Caisse des Français de l'Étranger membership with a ThinkCare Top-Up medical insurance policy with third party administrator. You can benefit from the remote transmission of your claims requests: they will be managed in coordination with the insurer and the CFE. Explore our ThinkCare range of plansand our overviewand get online and contact our team at Think Insurtech to help you.

Another possibility is to choose to be reimbursed from the first euro by your health insurer, without joining the Caisse des Français de l'Étranger. The insurer will therefore no longer intervene as a Top-up, but will pay your reimbursements in full, according to the level of cover and deductible you have subscribed to.