Do self-employed people have to take out mutuelle health insurance?

The cost of mutuelle health insurance varies according to age and level of cover, but can be around €1,000 or more per year.

Self-employed people need to find the right level of cover
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Reader question: Is it compulsory for auto-entrepreneurs to have mutuelle health insurance or can they choose not to? I would welcome any advice on how to find a good one.

Answer: It is not compulsory for self-employed workers (auto-entrepreneurs) to take out a mutuelle (complementary) health insurance policy.

However, if you do not you will have to pay part of the fee charged for all medical consultations and procedures.

The only exception is if you are diagnosed with a severe chronic illness such as cancer, for which the state will cover 100% of the costs providing you are properly registered and have been paying your healthcare contributions, usually through Urssaf.

Insurer MAAF has drawn up a list of the most common bills faced by auto-entrepreneurs, including €15-€20 per day for hospital treatment, 30% of the cost of seeing a doctor and 35% of the cost of prescribed medicines.

If doctors charge more than the standard fee, this will fall on patients without a mutuelle, and if they need dental treatment, glasses or hearing aids, they are likely to face bills of up to half the cost. Dental crowns, for example, usually cost around €300 without a mutuelle.

Cost of mutuelle cover level

Prices vary according to age and the level of cover, but can be around €1,000 or more per year.

An internet search will throw up many brokers, all offering lowest prices and brightest smiles.

It is best to research the level of cover you need beforehand, and to establish your budget and family circumstances.

If you know people in a similar line of work, ask them about their mutuelles. They might point you to a good company you can approach directly, without going through a broker or commission-hungry conseiller at your bank.

As well as the big names, consider smaller, regional insurance firms, which do not advertise much but sometimes have good health contracts.