Dispute over compulsory contribution to French national health system leads to many heading over the channel for cover

Tens of thousands of French people are turning to UK insurers after losing faith in France’s welfare state, The Telegraph reports.

The decision to take out the policies in the UK comes as French professionals, business owners and self-employed workers continue a legal dispute with the French government over the compulsory nature of contributions to the national health system.

They argue that European legislation means that the French government cannot enforce compulsory health insurance as it forms a monopoly, something the French government denies, leading many to look across the channel for cheaper health cover.

Some say ttat cover bought in the UK can be eight or nine times chaper than the contributions the French government is demanding.

Liberté Sociale, a group of professionals refusing to pay the government health contributions, estimates that at least 60,000 French people have quit the national system, with the majority leaving in the last two years since increases in taxes and health contributions.

Amariz, a Bristol-based insurer, has sold about 30,000 policies to French nationals, and has even set up a French website and help line to deal with demand.

Liberté Sociale general secretary Christian Couturier told The Telegraph that none of those who had stopped paying national health contributions had been convicted of breaking the law but admitted that many had been prosecuted and were awaiting appeals.