Menu Close

MediSky in Europe: French people will not do without a baguette, wine and … insurance

When we think about France, we mainly think of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, beautiful monuments, rich culture. However, France today is a country that is full of contrasts as well as economic and social problems.

A country that is depopulating

Let’s start with the state of French society in terms of demographics. Statistically, it does not look good.

In March 2023, France recorded the lowest number of births since 1994. However, a higher number of conceptions and an increase in births were recorded in 2021, during lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The population of France was 68 million in January 2023. In 2022, the population grew by 0.3% – 723,000 babies were born, which is about 19,000 less than in 2021, when the number of births increased, ending a series of six consecutive years of declines. The fertility rate was 1.80 children per woman in 2022 and 1.84 in 2021. In 2022, 667,000 people died in France, namely 5,000 more than in 2021 and only 2,000 less than in 2020, when the Covid-19 epidemic began. Such a high number of deaths is caused by the ageing of the population, but also by the continuation of the pandemic and heat waves. Life expectancy at birth is 85.2 years for women and 79.3 years for men, which is close to the 2021 level.

The economy is stable but with problems

Since we know what the demographic situation is, maybe the economic situation of the country looks better?

France’s economy is the second largest in the European Union and the seventh largest in the world. There is no doubt that it is a significant economic player on a global scale. There used to be a saying that “when France sneezes, Europe has a cold”. Even today, in a more globalised world, we can see
a shadow of truth in these words. Although France itself is also not free from the influence of other economies. This was proven by the year 2020, when the country’s GDP fell by as much as 7.9%. This caused the economy to regress to roughly 2015 levels.

In 2021, the economic recovery after the pandemic was impressive. The recorder increase was at the level of 6.8%. According to calculations, in 2022 the growth reached 2.6% and the economy returned to the level of 2019. Projections for 2023 are subject to significant uncertainty related to the course of the war in Ukraine. Additional risks are related to the volume and price of gas supplies as well as the scale and duration of government activities aimed at relieving households and businesses. It should be stressed that France allocated the most funds in 2022 to help the economy. It is expected that next year, in 2024, the GDP growth will amount to approx. 0.4%.

In terms of HICP inflation, France is doing better than all other EU countries. It brings up the rear of the price increase level practically every month. However, this does not mean that inflation is not
a problem. Already in 2021, France exceeded the inflation target of 2%. It is estimated that this level will be 4% this year, i.e. above the creeping inflation threshold.

French people are aware, so they are insured

France can be said to be the world capital of culture but what distinguishes the country on the Seine from the rest of the world is its high awareness of healthcare. As many as 95% of French people have additional health insurance. According to the High Council for the Future of Health Insurance (HCAAM), the goal has almost been reached. Only 5% of French people are not covered by supplementary insurance. They are mostly people living in poverty. Half of French people who are not covered by insurance have an income of less than EUR 970. Among the poorest 20% of households, the coverage rate increases to 88%.

In the case of insured people, differences exist depending on which sector they work in – private, public or if they are self-employed. The latter are covered at 94% compared to 97% for private sector employees. However, even among private sector employees, the proportion of those with precarious agreements or low income is smaller.

97% of retirees have supplementary health insurance and they spend 7% of their income on it. Poor households spend 10% of their income on premiums and the rest on supplementary health insurance.

Increasing prices

HCAAM says that health insurance prices have increased significantly in recent years. It also draws attention to increasingly complex agreements. And all these factors may have a negative impact on the future number of insured people. “Given the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 health crisis, businesses and households may cut back or even drop insurance coverage in the coming months,” says HCAAM.

Similar Articles