The French Medical System for Brits

Just a little guide for any EU citizen who injures themselves skiing with the university, goes to the doctor the next day, gets injected with an unknown substance, gets a prescription, goes back to the doctor midweek, gets referred to a sports specialist who sucks blood from their thigh with a needle, then gets referred to a physio with a penchant for electrical suction cups and large wooden hooks … and has thus far paid 220€ and is thinking longingly of the NHS.

Not too specific then… but seriously, it’s just as well to know how to use your EHIC just au cas oú something happens to you during a stay or studies in France. I didn’t and so here I pass on what I’ve learned:

This is a case of mix of insurance companies, so you need to first get reimbursed by EHIC and then the remainder will hopefully be covered by the insurance of the sports association.

Keep your “Feuille de Soins” given to you by the doctors and pharmacist, and also keep any receipts. You will have to pay by card when you go in to the doctors / collect your prescription (“ordonnance”)

From the NHS site:

Reimbursements are claimed from the local CPAM office (Caisse Primaire D‘Assurance Maladie) in France. You will need to provide the treatment form (feuille de soins), copies of receipts and prescriptions, a copy of your EHIC, your address of residence and your bank details, including IBAN and BIC. Confirmation of your refund will be sent to your home address.

To clarify (after I went and was rejected the first time), you need:

  1. A photocopy of your EHIC
  2. A photocopy of your passport
  3. A photocopy of your attestation de résidence
  4. A photocopy of your RIB (bank details from French bank account)
  5. If a student, a photocopy of your certificat de scolarité

Also a book… my local CPAM office when I found it via a friendly French person (weirdly, it wasn’t listed in google) made me wait an average of maybe 40 minutes each of the 4 or 5 times I went. Yay for Kindles!

You should be made to fill in a form about your change of residence to an address in this département. Fill in all of it that you can, not just the bits they tell you to… or else they might send a letter out in a couple of weeks telling you to fill out the rest of the bits that they’d told you not to fill out in the first place.

In 2-3 weeks, they will then send out a letter to your residence confirming your dossier has been opened. At this point, you’ll need the

  1. The Feuilles de Soins from the medecin and the pharmacie
  2. Receipts

which you’ve been carefully preserving. Take them back along, pop them in one of the envelopes and letterbox provided.

Then wait about a month and you should get some money put in your French bank account; for me it worked out about 60% of the initial feuilles de soins I’d submitted; I’ve still got more than half to submit but hoping it’ll be along the same lines.

Once that’s done, you’ve got the joys of insurance… they still await me…

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