23 August 2017

Health Coverage in France Part 3

Look at what came in the mail! (And in August, the height of no-one-works-here-because-it's-summer-vacation!)
Julie's Carte Vitale, with sensitive info chopped off
Please note the photo - Rick says it's that typically French ID look, full of anxiety. I say it's my "take the damned picture already!" look. Either way, I'm not smiling, per the rules... (oddly enough, in elementary school, I hated to "smile for the camera")

Well, to details.

  • My last entry in this saga was that June 8th we got our "attestations" proving that we were in the system, and could start using it! Since then:
  • June 12, found a médecin traitant (aka General Practitioner) as required by the rules, and dropped by the office to make our appointments
  • June 14, went to our appointments (I know, right!?!?). Got a bunch of referrals and ordonnances (prescriptions). Paid 25€ cash (each) and got a reimbursement form. At the pharmacy later, they automatically took off the reimbursement part, and we paid the rest.
  • June 22, mailed our first reimbursement requests (for our Dr. appointments) to CPAM (didn't bother with notify-when-received mail service)
  • June 28, I hit a small bump - I got another letter from CPAM, this time asking for my marriage certificate. Well, the next day, I went overboard ('cause why not?), and I mailed* my marriage certificate, copy of livret de famille (showing official French recognition of my marriage), and a copy of Rick's French ID (as well as a copy of their letter, since it had all the file numbers on it). 
  • July 4, *actually succeeded in mailing my papers (PO was closed before for some reason)
  • July 5, 2 weeks after mailing our forms, Rick got reimbursed for his Dr. visit. This started a period of great confusion for us! Why just one? Which one? Whose (any?) account number was wrong? (Spoiler alert; it worked out)
  • July 18, we both got letters with our new permanent numbers, and requesting photos for our cards (within 15 days, please). It also had info on signing up for online accounts, so we did that. Mine was now addressed to me with my married name, which I have never used :-\  I think I will just leave it...
  • July 27, I finally sucked it up** and got my photos done (it really is very simple, as there are photo booths everywhere, but it's a big mental hump to get over - no smiling!?!)
  • July 29, we got our codes in the mail for our online accounts. Taking advantage of the situation, we uploaded our photos and ID copies instead of mailing them :-). We were a bit on pins and needles about the timing, and had decided to mail everything on Monday if we hadn't heard before (but we did!)
  • August 9, still concerned about a possible account problem highlighted by the odd reimbursement situation, we went in to CPAM. They couldn't fix or explain anything right then, so they gave us an appointment for the next day (I know, right?!?)
  • August 10, they explained that the accounts were both fine, but there was an outstanding charge on mine - we were confused about that, but confident that the accounts at least were ok, so we submitted more reimbursement forms (we'd been holding off until we were sure about the accounts). Later that day, CPAM called and explained a bit better - it wasn't an outstanding charge; they were just waiting for the total to get over 15€, which is their threshold. So, at the next reimbursement, it would be included. Well, that's a reasonable explanation! :-) 
  • August 21, our Cartes Vitales arrived!
  • August 22, I went to my doctor (turns out that here, to participate in sports, you need a doctor's certificate saying that you're physically able). He ran the card through his system, I paid 25€ cash again, but the reimbursement was automatically requested - it should go through in just a few days.

So now we know aaaaall there is to know (or at least it feels like it!)

Still to come - we haven't yet been asked for income info, or a payment. I expect that will happen at some point; I'm not too worried about it. We've heard that they want the last 2 years of tax returns, and they use the older one to determine your payments. We have our USA forms, but we won't have French returns until next year (that's just how it works here).

See previous posts in our process:

** Oddly enough, I've learned that this is a quite rude expression to Brits (so, apologies to my friends who see it so; please understand that it is not in the USA, and is commonplace in the California workplace)


Sophie said...

do you know why they ask 2 years of tax returns? is it mandatory? what is the purpose?

Julie said...

Hi Sophie, I have heard that they use the older year to calculate your contribution.
But I don't have first-hand knowledge. So far, they haven't asked for any of our tax returns, but we have also just done our first year of French taxes.

j@@n said...

Hi Julie, Is there a follow up to this post? Am trying to find out how many (US) Tax Returns did you have to submit to determine payment? If more than one, did they use the most recent one? Am asking as my income is quite different in the last two returns (2017 vs 2018). Again, thanks for these posts. Very helpful for folks following your lead!

Julie said...

Hi Joon, if you can believe it, I *still* don't know what I will owe! They still haven't asked for a tax return, and now we've been here long enough to have filed in France. I wish I could tell you more :-\