The French social security system, despite chronic deficits and constant needs for government funding, remains one of the most generous in the world. Almost 90% of French citizens are affiliated with the "sécu". Contributions are levied on wages up to 20%, and employers must also pay social contributions for their employees.
Unemployed or retired Europeans citizens settled in France must wait 5 years before enrolling in a French social security fund. Before reaching 5 years of residence, a private insurance insurance is highly recommended.
If you are living and working in France, you can benefit from the same social rights as to French citizens regarding the French social security system. Foreign workers in France must first get a social security number ("numéro de sécurité sociale"). The request must be made by your employer in France. After obtaining a Social Security number, foreign workers receive a health card ("carte vitale") of a credit card format and accepted by most doctors and pharmacies. The "carte vitale" enables copayment for health care. Dependents of the primary insured are also covered by the sécu.
Reimbursement for health care costs is only partial, especially for dental or eye care, and many French citizens subscribe to private health insurance for better coverage.
For more information about the French social security system, please refer to http://www.ameli.fr/.
Useful links :
The French Social Security online - AMELI
Public Services online