6th Sept 2023
The government have published new, lower reimbursement rates for dental care.
In June, to the surprise of many, the government announced that the level of reimbursement by the social security system for dental treatment would be reduced.
Currently, the reimbursement level is 70% of the official rates, which from 1st October will be reduced to around 60%.
The government estimates the savings to the public purse will €500m, which will need to be picked up by the complementary ('top-up') insurers.
The 2.5 million patients who do not have a ‘mutuelle’ will have to meet the additional costs directly from their own pockets, unless they are eligible for free health cover.
Unsurprisingly, the health insurers have already stated that premiums will have to rise to cover the lower level of reimbursement by the state. Éric Chenut, president of the association of mutual insurers denounced the change as "purely an accounting decision."
The announcement was made simultaneously with an increase in the rates paid to dentists for preventative care to those under 24 years of age, a priority for the government.
A basic consultation with a dentist costs €23 at the standard rate. At present, the social security system covers 70% of the tariff, or €16.10. When the coverage reduces to 60%, the level of reimbursement will be €13.80.
However, in practice, the charges imposed by most dentists are higher, as they are permitted to impose surcharges, called dépassements d’honoraires. These charges vary, but can be substantial, as dentists are merely required to set them with 'tact et mesure'.Fab Insurance is an English language speaking insurance broker in France, who provide cover for thousands of international property owners. They comment that: “The level of reimbursement from the health system for dental care is generally very low, due to the additional charges imposed by dentists. A ‘mutuelle’ complementary policy would cover all or some of these charges.”