What is the Schengen area and the Schengen visa ?
How long has the Schengen area existed?
The Schengen agreements were signed in 1985 and came into force in 1995.
What is the advantage of the Schengen area?
The Schengen area allows the free movement of people within the Schengen area. In concrete terms, this means that a person within the area does not need to show his or her identity documents to move from one country to another. They can move freely in all the countries of the Schengen area.
The Schengen area is the largest free movement area in the world.
Which countries are part of the Schengen area?
The Schengen area is made up of 26 countries, 22 of which belong to the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland (non-EU), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein (non-EU), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway (non-EU), Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (non-EU).
The Schengen area will have 27 members from 1 January 2023 with the integration of Croatia, the last country to join the European Union in 2013. It should be noted that airport controls will only be lifted from 26 March 2023. Croatia was accepted because it presents little risk of immigration, having borders with Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Croatia will also join the Eurozone from January 2023. This means that European tourists will no longer have to change their money.
The non-Schengen countries belonging to the European Union are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania.
What is a Schengen visa?
The Schengen visa is intended for people from outside the Schengen area. It allows free movement for a maximum of 90 days within the member countries of this area. In order to benefit from a Schengen visa, you must attach a Schengen visa insurance certificate to your visa application.
What does “actual costs” mean ?
Actual costs correspond to the sums incurred by an individual for health expenses. Part of the actual costs may be reimbursed by the compulsory scheme, and part may be covered by the complementary health insurance. The part reimbursed by the latter depends on the level of cover taken out. The amount of both reimbursements may not exceed the actual costs incurred.
Often, insurance reimburses you according to the Social Security reimbursement base.
Example: If an insurance pays you 300 from the Social Security reimbursement base, you will only receive 69 euros for a consultation with a general practitioner because the convention fee for a consultation is 23 euros, or 23-300 – 69 euros. In high-medical countries such as the United States, this type of medical expense can amount to more than $150. It is essential to be reimbursed on the basis of your actual expenses.
What is the European Health Insurance Card or EHIC ?
The European Health Insurance Card allows you to be covered for medical expenses in any of the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom under the same conditions and at the same rate (free of charge in some countries) as people insured in that country. The EHIC is free of charge and remains valid for 2 years.
The cards are issued by the health insurance services in your country.
For more information: website of the Assurance Maladie.
How does the European Health Insurance Card work?
The EHIC covers medical care and treatment necessitated by your state of health. All you have to do is present it to a public health professional (doctor, hospital, etc.) and your medical expenses will be covered in accordance with the social security rules and legislation of your country of expatriation. However, if you are travelling specifically to a Member State for the sole purpose of receiving medical treatment, your EHIC will not be accepted: planned treatments are not covered abroad.
How to obtain your EHIC?
Contact your health insurance fund to apply for one at least two weeks before your departure. No documents are required to obtain the card. If you leave less than two weeks after applying for your card, your health insurance fund can give you a provisional certificate of coverage attesting to your rights. This certificate is valid for three months and can be used until you receive your EHIC card.
What are the limitations of the European Health Insurance Card?
- It does not replace travel insurance. It does not cover private health care or costs such as a flight back to your home country or loss or theft of property,
- It does not cover the costs of medical treatment you have planned in another EU country,
- Does not guarantee free services. As health care systems differ from country to country, some services provided free of charge in your country may not be available elsewhere.
The European Health Insurance Card does not replace international health insurance. Expenses are reimbursed on the basis of the rates and legislation in force in the country of expatriation. As health systems are not the same from one country to another, it is strongly recommended that you take out international health insurance for peace of mind.
What does “tacit renewal” mean?
The tacit renewal implies that unless otherwise advised by you the contract will be renewed automatically.
What is a tacitly renewable contract?
A tacitly renewable contract is a contract that is automatically renewed for a period of one year after its expiry. In other words, it is not necessary for the contracting parties to express their wish to renew it.
Very often in the field of insurance, fixed-term contracts include an automatic renewal clause. Renewal of the contract may be provided for in the interests of the parties to the contract.
Can tacit renewal be opposed?
The Chatel Law (Law n°2005-67 of 28 January 2005) reinforces the protection of policyholders by imposing an information obligation on the insurer. It also sets strict deadlines for the procedure. Opposition by the insured to the tacit renewal of his contract must be made by registered letter.
The possibility of not renewing must be clearly stated at least fifteen days before the deadline for cancelling your contract.
How does the Loi Chatel work?
The Chatel law offers new possibilities for cancelling. There are 3 possible scenarios:
- the insurer respects its obligation and you receive the letter informing you of the possibility of cancelling within the legal deadline, i.e. 15 days before the end of the notice period. You can terminate your contract before the end of the notice period, after which you will be subject to automatic renewal.
- you receive the expiry notice only a few days before the end of the notice period. You then have 20 days from the date of dispatch of the notice to cancel the contract.
- the insurer does not respect the rule, does not send any letter or does not comply with the legal deadlines. You can terminate the contract at any time by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. If you have already paid your premium, the insurer must reimburse you for the excess amount.
However, you should know that the Chatel law is only valid for tacitly renewable contracts which only concern natural persons outside their professional activities, and that it does not apply to life insurance or death insurance, nor to group contracts. Finally, don’t forget that after cancelling, it is important to find a new health insurance policy to stay covered.
What is the CFE ?
The CFE (Caisse des Français de l’Aranger) is a private organization that operates on the same reimbursement scale as that of Social Security.
Who is concerned by the CFE?
Created in 1978, the CFE, as its name indicates, intervenes for the French abroad. It reimburses you for part of your care in return for a quarterly contribution calculated according to your income, age and family situation.
You can choose between a “1st euro” insurance (without CFE) and a complementary insurance to CFE.
Other people can also join the CFE:
- Nationals of a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, when they are expatriated outside their country;
- Other foreigners, outside their country and employed by a company which has affiliated its staff to the CFE.
It concerns expatriate employees, non-salaried workers, people without professional activity, retired people and students.
What insurance does CFE offer?
The CFE covers 3 risks:
- Health: illness, maternity and disability.
- Occupational risks: accidents at work and occupational diseases
- Old age: retirement
They operate independently and must be taken out separately. You are not obliged to subscribe to all 3, you can choose the insurance you need.
CFE: protection for all
All expatriates can join the CFE, regardless of
- their family and professional situation during their expatriation
- their country of residence
- their age
- their state of health
There is no need to complete a medical questionnaire before joining. And there are no exclusions for the coverage of health expenses.
It is recommended that you join the CFE as soon as possible, as a waiting period applies if you join more than three months after the start of your expatriation. This period is :
- Three months for people under 45 years of age.
- Six months for people over 45 years of age.
The CFE: continuous protection
The CFE ensures the continuity of rights with the French social security system. On their return to France, its members immediately return to their social security system.
The limits of the CFE: taking out complementary health insurance
The Caisse des Français de l’Étranger only covers part of your health expenses abroad, such as hospitalization costs or a consultation with a general practitioner or a specialist.
It only reimburses on the basis of the conventional tariff, and does not take into account the cost of expenses incurred abroad. To cover the difference, it is essential to take out supplementary insurance for expatriates, particularly in countries where the cost of medicine is high.
What is the WHV ( Working Holiday Visa) ?
The Working Holiday Visa (WHV) allows travellers to work and/or travel in a country for one year.
It is a temporary immigration visa, with a maximum duration of twelve months – or up to twenty-four months in Canada for French nationals – and is only open to young nationals of the signatory countries.
Why go on a WHP?
There are several reasons or conditions that may push you to go on a WHP:
- The opportunity to discover new countries
- You are not obliged to have already found a job before leaving
- It allows you to create and develop your own personal and professional network
- Also to gain work experience abroad and improve your skills
Which countries offer visas for a WHP?
The French have access to 15 destinations: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Taiwan, Uruguay, Hong Kong and Ecuador. In all these destinations, only Australia and New Zealand have unlimited quotas. These are therefore the most accessible destinations.
Belgians have access to 5 countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan)
What are the conditions for obtaining a visa?
The conditions can vary from one country to another, especially in terms of age and the quota of people accepted. In general, the conditions are as follows:
- Not to have already obtained a WHP in the country in question. However, there is an exception for Australia, which allows people to apply for a new visa
- Be between 18 and 30 years of age. Canada, Australia and Argentina allow visas to be issued to travellers under the age of 35.
- Be a French citizen and have a valid French passport
- You must not have any dependent children during your stay
- Have a return ticket or sufficient savings to be able to finance it
- Have sufficient resources to support yourself when you arrive in the partner country, while you find a job. The timing of these savings varies according to the bilateral agreement.
- Have travel insurance covering at least the costs of hospitalisation, illness and repatriation
The WHP gives many students and others the chance to study and work at the same time. PVT insurance is a guarantee that facilitates travel from one country to another at a reasonable price.
What does “deductible” or “excess” mean ?
A deductible is the amount that will not be refunded to you regardless of your expenses.
Example: You go to the dentist and this consultation costs you 75 euros. If your deductible is €30, you will be reimbursed based on the remaining €45. The refund will depend on the contract you have signed up and will be able to cover either all or part of the remaining 45 euros.
What is personal liability ?
This is personal and property damage to a third party.
Example: You break a mirror in a shop that hurts a customer. The shop has the right to ask you and the person you injured. Your civil liability will be responsible for this personal and material damage.
In travel insurance, the liability guarantee is limited to privacy (not a professional liability guarantee) and does not apply to your rental vehicle for example for which you must take out insurance civil liability related to the car.
What do you mean by “Country of Origin” in the quote ?
The country of origin is the country you come from. In general, it is the country of nationality.
For some expatriates who acquire another nationality, their country of origin will be that of their “1st” nationality. Nowadays, more and more people have several nationalities, if it is allowed by the concerned countries. In this case, people usually tend to use the one which best fits their needs.
At Mondassur, for an international healthcare insurance quote, you need to indicate your country of origin and your country of destination.
What does “secure payment” mean ?
As part of a secure payment, your credit card number, expiry date and cryptogram are encrypted in the transmission to protect you and ensure that no data flows in the clear via the internet. Mondassur uses the “3D Secure” system.
With “3D Secure,” Visa and Mastercard consolidated online payments. When you make a payment online, you will be asked for a 3D Secure code to verify that you are the cardholder and protect yourself in the event of bank details stolen.