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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Be Well in France

Having been recently hospitalized in Paris, I am sharing my impression of the French Health Care system compared to the US or Canadian versions. 

  • There are lots of good doctors, but finding one that is right for you takes some effort.
  • The doctors and nurses in both places were kind, professional and competent.

  • In Paris I was encouraged to stay in the hospital until I was well enough to go home. Compare this to the U.S. where I went home the day after heart surgery. 
  • Everyone here was very casual with the medication instructions. Even asking for several repetitions and posing detailed questions left me pretty much in the dark. Thank God for WebMD.
  • Patients here typically go home with several types of medications, and an option to ask for more or different.
  • The doctor here prescribes significant time off work. Paid-for time. 
  • Patients here should be prepared for a "surprise visit" from L'Assurance Maladie to make sure they are unwell and at home.
  • There are public hospitals (basically free with insurance) and private clinics (not free at all). 
  • Even in the private clinic here I received a hospital bill lower than I eceived post surgery in the U.S. where I was fully insured. 

Although I do not recommend being sick anywhere in the world, if you have to be sick, Paris takes good care of you.


  1. Thanks for sharing this info. Sorry you were sick, but glad Paris took good care of you.

    There are so many stories of people needing medical care when traveling or residing outside their respective native countries and then getting stuck in the quagmire of cross cultural medical systems this is good to know. For example, many U.S. seniors don't know that U.S. Medicare doesn't cover anything outside the U.S., but private insurance usually does. So it pays to do your homework.

    We are all glad you are on the mend and making a speedy recovery!

    1. Thanks Richard. Apart from excellent medical care received, the thoughts and actions of my friends and family near and far really made the difference between feeling sorry for myself and enjoying a speedy recovery.

  2. Hello Melanie sorry to hear that you were ill, but glad to hear that Paris had your back! We are so vulnerable when ill, it is frightening to be at the mercy of an unknown health system, Richard is so right about the necessity of doing your homework prior to traveling. I have heard horror stories of people traveling across Canada under the incorrect assumption that our Ontario health coverage would assist them anywhere in Canada.
    Stay well!

    1. Thanks Carole-Ann
      Yes it oculd have been so much worse. I am lucky to live in Paris.


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