If you filed French income taxes in 2016, you may have recently received a letter from URSSAF asking for money.
L’addition finally arrives
After letting both 2016 and 2017 pass without collecting social security contributions for public health coverage, URSSAF is now on a mission to catch up and fill the hole in the coffers. While French public healthcare coverage is one of the least costly in the world, it’s not free in most circumstances. The system is supported by the millions of salaried workers and independent professionals who pay social charges to finance the healthcare regime. And before 2016, inactive residents who qualify for coverage because they’ve resided legally on French soil for more than three months also paid social charges to URSSAF.
Since the creation of PUMa (Protection Universelle Maladie), which introduces the right to public healthcare coverage based on legal residency alone, our clients have been anxiously awaiting their first bill.
What to do with the URSSAF bill
The bill for 2016 coverage is due today (January 19th), unless you have taken one of the following actions:
- Contact URSSAF by phone 0810 594 267 or e-mail (depending on your region):
- Contest the bill to URSSAF. If you feel that the contribution amount does not take into full consideration your situation, you can send URSSAF documentation to support your claim. You can contest the bill 30 days before the due date, which delays the due date another 30 days and incurs no late fees.
- Contest the bill to CRA. You can also follow the same type of procedure with CRA (Commission de Recours Amiable), and eventually with the TASS (Tribunal des Affaires de Sécurité Sociale) to contest the bill. Late fees may or may not be incurred.
Note that If the contributions are not paid within 30 days, a 5% late fee may be added, then an additional 0.4% per month thereafter.
How to pay for French healthcare coverage
Send your payment, in the form of bank or personal check (French Euro account), to the URSSAF address indicated on the letter you received.
Otherwise, you can choose to pay in three installments via automatic bank transfer. The first within thirty days of the notice and the last two no longer than 90 days after the first. Contact your local URSSAF to obtain their bank account details and instructions on how to properly label your payments so they are accurately attributed to your account. Keep in mind that your bank will likely require at least one business day to add URSSAF as a recipient (bénéficiaire) for bank transfers.
If you shouldn’t have to pay
If you have never applied for French public healthcare coverage and have received a bill anyway, this is most likely due to the fact that French tax authorities provided URSSAF with details on every individual susceptible of having PUMa coverage. However, since many expats living in France are still insured through private health insurance policies, and technically PUMa is not mandatory, these calls for payment should be contested.
Renestance can provide you personal assistance with this matter. Whether you need help determining whether you’ve been charged the correct amount or contesting the URSSAF bill, contact us for a free estimate.
For more detail on URSSAF billing and PUMa, many thanks to the fine professionals at AARO for their extremely detailed article on this subject, found here: https://www.aaro.org/2017/advocacy/social-security/642-puma-protection-universelle-maladie
Jennifer is Renestance's Activity & Excursions Coordinator, a bilingual American from Vermont who's been loving her life in France since 1998. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and allowing you to discover all of the scenic, cultural and culinary wealth of the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
All articles by: Jennifer Rowell-Gastard