New measures to improve access to housing for the sick

On Thursday February 3, members of parliament agreed on new measures to facilitate access to housing for people who suffer, or have suffered, from a serious or chronic illness. Patients' associations have welcomed these advances, but insurers do not share their enthusiasm.

The right to be forgotten: reducing the time limit from 10 to 5 years

As part of a bill designed to facilitate competition in the loan insurance market, members of parliament, meeting in a joint committee on Thursday February 3, agreed on two new measures to promote access to housing for people who are ill or have suffered from a serious illness in the past.

The first measure concerns people affected by cancer and hepatitis C. In 2016, the law modernizing our healthcare system introduced the notion of the right to be forgotten: 10 years after the end of their treatment, former sufferers are entitled, when they take out a loan insurance contract, not to declare the pathologies they suffered from in the past.

The "right to forget" means that they do not have to pay additional premiums, which are often substantial, even though they have been cured. Indeed, insurers generally impose a surcharge, considering that these people present a higher risk of not being able to repay their credit.


While some associations, such as the Ligue contre le cancer, welcomed this step forward at the time, they nevertheless deplored the 10-year delay, deemed excessive, for benefiting from this right to be forgotten. The wait should now be much shorter, as parliamentarians have agreed to reduce the period for the right to be forgotten to 5 years.


Health questionnaire no longer required for certain mortgages

The second measure agreed by parliamentarians concerns the medical questionnaire required by insurers when applying for a mortgage. Currently, the vast majority of loan insurance contracts require this health form, which complicates access to mortgages for people whose health is considered fragile.

Last November, Crédit Mutuel's decision to abolish the health questionnaire for its loyal customers caused quite a stir in the loan insurance sector.

This measure, which was far from unanimous, was nevertheless approved by the members of parliament. However, the abolition of the medical questionnaire will be reserved for mortgages of less than 200,000 euros, due to mature before the borrower's 60th birthday.

The text enacting these various measures will be voted on by the Senate on February 17, after being submitted to the deputies on Thursday 10. The decrees implementing these new rules should then be published before May.

While patient associations have welcomed these advances, insurers are less than enthusiastic. According to Franck Le Vallois, Managing Director of France Assureurs (formerly the Fédération Française de l'Assurance), the shorter "right to forget" period could result in higher insurance premiums for all borrowers.

With regard to the abolition of the medical questionnaire, players in the loan insurance sector advocated a discussion between professionals based on the AERAS convention ("S'Assurer et Emprunter avec Risque Aggravé de Santé"), co-signed by insurers, bankers and patient associations.


Parliamentarians have not ruled out this possibility, encouraging professionals to work towards easier access to home ownership for people with chronic illnesses. However, if negotiations fail, the government will be required to take the necessary measures by July 31, 2022.