Having secured a doctor, it was time to ensure that said Doctor can be paid without our going bankrupt.
France has a good healthcare system, which gives 70% (more or less, am told that not all services are equal) for free. In order to use it, eligible individuals need to register for a Carte Vitale. As ex-pat Brits we are eligible immediately because I am
very, very old and ancient and decrepit a State Pensioner. I have an S1 form, sent from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to say that the NHS are to pay France for my healthcare. The man of the house also gets immediate access, because I do. He is what some here call “a cling-on”. It is all good news for us.
In order to register for the Carte Vitale we needed to visit the CPAM office, taking with us the S1 documents and a veritable dossier of paperwork of all manner. The main CPAM is at the Préfecture in Poitiers but there is a sous-Préfecture in Montmorillon. We knew that it is not open all hours so carefully checked and set off post-lunch-break.
The Maison des Services is rather splendid and the roses in the garden smelled wonderful. However, the CPAM office is currently fermé, pour les vacances Scolaires.
We came home again, unable to face a trip to Poitiers on such a hot day.
Once we have this matter sorted out we then have to visit Lorraine in Bussière-Poitevine once more, to arrange our Mutuel. When seeking medical care one pays the bill up front and out of pocket. The doctor takes the Carte Vitale and swipes it and the 70% is reimbursed to one’s bank account. The same happens at the Pharmacie. As the System pays only 70% back some form of Health Insurance is required to return the balance, or most of it. The situation is confusing for the new arrival and much information or misinformation is at odds. It may or may not be a legal requirement to have this insurance cover but it seems like a good idea. Apparently the level of cover can be tweaked to give back more than one spends… but this again may be misinformation. Time will tell. Or Lorraine will. Lorraine is ace. We are very grateful for Lorraine’s local presence.