02 May 2017

Health Coverage in France

We've been in France now for the magical 3 months, AND I have my immigration stamp, so off we went this morning to CPAM (another government office) to sign up for our health coverage. Health coverage in France (and *every* other developed country) is different than in the USA. Here, every adult gets a health card (Carte Vitale) - you take this to your doctor appointments, they run it through like a credit card, the government pays 70% and you pay the rest.

We took our first steps toward getting​ our cartes vitales. Friday (and it took these French-file-creating-newbies *forever*), we each put together a file according to the government website (http://www.ameli.fr/assures/droits-et-demarches/la-protection-universelle-maladie.php), containing:

  1. a filled-in application form (1 page, fairly basic, available for download from the website)
  2. a copy of an ID (Rick's ID card, and my passport and visa pages)
  3. copies of receipts showing we had been in France for 3 months, in a "regular manner" (hotel, vacation rental, and the bill for our apartment lease)
  4. our French bank account information (aka "RIB")

All-Important Folders for French Files of All Sorts!
We could have mailed it and waited, but (1) getting to the office is easy enough for us, (2) we prefer being able to talk to someone about the process and the file; in particular, to know if it is complete or not, and (3) it's always possible that they would process the application right then ("haha" I hear you say, but some things have actually happened that way).

So, we got to the office by 10, and were done by 10:15, including standing in line! The woman started by showing us the application form, and as she started to highlight the items to include in the file, we said that we actually had our files :-) . << Genial ! >> (French for "that's great!") - she flipped through them, checked that we had the documents needed, stapled them for us, and told us to deposit them in a box (like a post office box, but for their applications). Then she said it would be about 2 months before we would get our numbers.

What I have heard will be next:

  • CPAM will contact us about our income; probably, they will want copies of our last 2 income tax returns (USA)
  • Our social tax will be based on our income (probably from 2015, possibly from an average of 2015 and 2016). Any amount above 9710€ is multiplied by 0.08, and that is the yearly tax.
  • Normally, this tax is paid quarterly, but the system is  in flux - no one has been getting a bill, and probably will have one giant bill in 2018. We will have to save off that tax on our own...
  • We will get temporary numbers in about 2 months; at this point, we can get reimbursed for health costs
  • CPAM will ask us for face photos to be used for our cartes vitales
  • "Some time later," we'll have the cards, and can start using them directly (instead of applying for reimbursement)

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