The French Supreme Court validated the collective branch insurance and obliged French bakers to pay their social contributions to a specific health insurance fund

Cour de cassation, Chambre sociale, 11 février 2015, 13-26.015 13-26.016, Inédit

The present case concerns the complementary health insurance scheme in France and, in particular, the right to choose a health fund.

A Branch Agreement, approved by a Ministerial decree, created a mandatory supplementary health insurance for persons working in bakery and pastry shops. Therefore, workers and employers had to adhere to a unique health insurance body. Consequently, they had to pay their social contributions to it, without having the right to choose another public or private health fund.

A company did not comply with the new requirements and adhered to another health insurance body. The health insurance body designed by French public authorities lodged a complaint demanding from judges to pronounce the company’s affiliation to it and the payment of all social contribution.

The appeal court of Toulouse (Cour d’appel de Toulouse) dismissed the claim on the grounds that the health insurance body carried on an economic activity and, in this light, the EU law defined it as an undertaking which should comply with the EU competition rules. The fact that the health insurance body had no profit-making objective was irrelevant for the appeal judges.

The health insurance body lodged an appel in cassation.

The Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) reversed the decision of the appeal court (Cour d’appel).

The Supreme judges referred to the European Court of Justice case-law (Case C-437/09) which validated the contested health scheme. The case examined by the ECJ was similar to this at the main proceedings. The Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) applied the ECJ solution and concluded that EU Competition law, in particular Articles 101, 102 and 106 TFEU did not prohibit the appointment of a specific health insurance fund with no competition procedure.

In the present case, the Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) drew the necessary conclusion from the ECJ ruling. However, the French Constitutional Court (Conseil constitutionnel) had already invalidated the litigated health insurance scheme. Actually, there are several pending cases before judicial and administrative courts..

The full text is available on  EuroCases

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