France lets citizens add a digital version of their health insurance card to their smartphone

DIGITAL HEALTH: French residents will be able to store their physical Carte Vitale card on their smartphone

Residents across France will soon be able to download and store a digital version of their Carte Vitale health insurance card on their Apple or Android smartphone using the ApCV app currently being piloted in 10 French departments.

News of the national digital rollout comes as the French government has also approved plans to develop a biometric version of the Carte Vitale that will enable holders to verify their identity using their fingerprint or other biometric data stored in a chip on the card.

In addition to verifying their identity, the existing Carte Vitale allows holders to claim reimbursement for healthcare service charges and the digital version will contain the same personal information and operate in the same way.

The launch of the digital Carte Vitale, however, will also make it possible “to add the person’s identité nationale de santé (INS), and, eventually, details of their top-up health insurance policies, commonly referred to as mutuelles,” English language French newspaper The Connexion reports.

“The app will also allow people to consult their healthcare bills directly, with the receipts downloading immediately when the app is opened. These will remain available to download for seven days after a medical consultation, after which they will then become inaccessible. Once downloaded, they will be available indefinitely. 

“The app will also allow users to delegate the use of their Carte Vitale to someone else they trust for a limited time. This can be useful in the case that a grandparent is taking care of a child and needs to take them to the doctors.”

The digital Carte Vitale will be rolled out in a further eight French departments “from the fourth quarter of 2022” before launching across the whole country “in 2023”, The Connexion says.

Biometric version

The French government previously rejected proposals to integrate biometric data into the physical Carte Vitale in 2019 but has now set aside €20m (US$20.4m) to develop and launch a biometric version in order to enhance security and prevent fraud, according to French media outlets.

“The scheme is set to begin in the autumn, but there is no information on how this will be done, and whether the biometric chip will just be added to new cards, or whether existing cards will be replaced with new ones,” The Local reports.

France lets citizens add a digital version of their health insurance card to their smartphone was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.