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The Healthiest Country in the World

The Healthiest Country in the World

The healthiest country in the world is France. That might surprise you about a country that places such an emphasis on delicious food, savory meat dishes, creamy sauces, delicate cakes, sweets and pastries, fine wines and barrel-aged brandy.

But the low cost of health insurance and the superb quality of care means France romps to victory in the health category of International Living’s Quality of Life Index 2011.

Life expectancy here averages 84 years for women and 77 for men. In the past 10 years the number of people in France living over the age of 100 has doubled. And the World Health Organization shares our view, naming France number one in their world health report…

But what is day-to-day care really like?

Expat Adrian Leeds knows. Enchanted by la bonne vie (“the good life”) she moved to Paris 17 years ago and never looked back. “You can call SOS Médecins for a home visit by a doctor who arrives within 30 minutes of your call. All for the cost of a normal office visit (about $30). Or, call SAMU to be rushed to the nearest hospital and no one asks to see your proof of medical insurance prior to treatment. And the doctors actually use their knowledge and experience to treat their patients rather than over-prescribing tests because their malpractice liability isn’t so great. Drugs are so inexpensive, it’s a joke by comparison to the U.S…”

And once you move to France, you may be able to transfer your health care plan to a French provider, or even to one of the many British companies that specialize in providing coverage for individual expatriates. This may prove cheaper: Costs depend on age and medical history, but if you’re in good health, monthly premiums average $125.

It’s easy to find out more. Subscribe to International Living magazine with this link and we’ll deliver a free French Health Care Report instantly, as part of your subscription (as well as the Quality of Life Index 2011). This super-detailed report researched and compiled by our Euro editor Steenie Harvey tells you everything you need to know.

In fact, Steenie is just back from a scouting trip to Corsica, a part of France virtually unknown to most North Americans. Hidden just off the French Riviera, French and Italian vacationers have long enjoyed the silver beaches and azure-blue seas of this affordable haven.

This dramatic, unspoiled and sensual island casts a spell on all who visit. With Italy the nearest landfall, the climate is similar to the Italian Riviera and the summer lasts longer than anywhere else in mainland France.

Steenie says “it’s criminal not to lunch outdoors,” feasting on wild boar, cannelloni pasta and chestnut beer. When you subscribe to IL magazine, you’ll get the current issue (where Steenie pulls back the curtain on this mystery French island) and we’ll send you your free French health care report.

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