Today, one week into June, we each got a letter like this!
I know it *looks* boring, but what it says is wonderful!
"Dear Madame Hill [that's me],
You are affiliated with a system of health coverage in order to protect your health.
To make sure of your rights, you will find included here an attestation to present to health professionals (doctors, pharmacists, etc) if you don't have a Carte Vitale [this is a smart card with all your health info on it - it comes later]..."
And what it *means* is that now we pick a doctor (normal office visit comes to 23-25€, of which we are reimbursed 70%), I can get a referral to my specialist (90€ @ 70%), get my tests and prescriptions, and get healthy!
We had a couple of setbacks, but it still happened sooner than we had expected.
- April 28: could have submitted paperwork if we had been more used to putting together a dossier
- May 2: actually submitted paperwork. We did this in person in Sète. It would have been better to go straight to the "source" (according to my teacher in my French civics class) at the Montpellier office. The Sète office forwarded our dossiers there.
- May 16: letter from CPAM, asking for legible birth certificates and ID copy. We (Rick) wrote letters explaining the poor quality of the copies we had.
- May 18: we mailed the new copies, along with our letters and a copy of their letter (these had our dossier numbers listed). We sent it registered, so we could look up when (if) it got to them.
- May 22: confirmed CPAM received our letters!
- June 7: Rick gets a letter, saying his dossier is accepted! (None for poor Julie...)
- June 8: TODAY! We each get a letter, *with* attestation (that's temporary "proof" of coverage to show if needed). And it's good as of June 1 :-)
What else: expecting that we wouldn't have coverage until at least July 2, we extended our travel insurance (emergency coverage - better safe than sorry). Also, I went to see a specialist (going outside the system); My next appointment and tests will be covered if I get my new GP in time for a referral.
The interesting thing is that every single person I interacted with during my tests, appointment, and getting prescriptions was so very worried for me that I didn't have coverage - "oh, it's so expensive!" and "I don't understand how you can get by with out coverage!" Meanwhile, my out-of-pocket costs were: 90€ doctor visit (about an hour, including an ultrasound), 100€ tests (extensive), and a whopping 3€ prescription...
The *humane* thing is that we were covered, actually covered! before any discussion of costs - we haven't yet been asked for proof of income - it's understood that you have a right to a healthy life, and that you won't have to pay more than you *can*...