How to obtain French health care for new arrivals
French red tape
ex pats and the fun of red tape
With my girlfriend moving to France in November it was essential to make sure she was covered for French health care.
Living in France myself now for 7 years running the holiday cottages which is a registered French business I am already in the system paying RSI contributions.
RSI contributions is similar to the UK national insurance system in which your contributions pay towards your state pension, state benefits and a proportion of your health care cost.
Within France its imperative to buy a Top -Up insurance policy to cover the health care cost above that which is covered by the state.
Now as my girlfriend is not working in France she is not paying into the French system but we found out that because she had paid into the UK system the UK could provide up to 2 years health cover within France.
She contacted the National insurance department up in Newcastle and they issued an S1 form to enable her to obtain 2 years cover in France.
We were told all we had to do was take this form to our local Assurance Maladie and that is when the fun started.
Firstly we walked into a rather stinky office in Pontivey thinking that someone had used a toilet near by and had not flushed, we soon realized however that it was the chap that was about to help us!
Now I must admit that after 7 years in France my French is not strong but the chap gave no mercy and ranted on at fall flow, we established that the S1 was not sufficient on its own and we were given a form to complete after telling 'stinky' that my girlfriend was not working.
We returned a few days later with the form completed, hoping that we caught stinky on a bad day earlier and he was hopefully not working or had cleaned up his act.
We took a ticket to join the queue at the front door only to find at our dismay that stinky was working and as luck would have it we ended up at his desk rather than at his colleagues.....sods law! .
We handed over the completed form along with the S1 form and I questioned the guy again about the form we were given because after taking it home and using an internet translation service I was not 100% sure we were given the right form.
The chap got up and went into another office and spoke to a colleague for a few minutes and then came back, screwed up the form we completed and threw it into a bin.
Thankfully he then started to write on a sheet of paper all the new requirements needed. It turned out we need a letter of ' Attestation' from our local mairie which is basically a certificate proving my girlfriend is now living in France.
We also needed to provide a birth certificate in French and provide a bank account for my girlfriend to receive any future reimbursements for health cover cost.
So after making an appointment at a local bank we had an interview and provided yet again bundles of paper work to the bank manager in order to open just a simple current account.
What was surprising was not only did we have to provide a copy of her passport, driving licence, attestation and a bank statement from her UK bank showing the French address, they also asked for proof of her old UK address before moving to France which seemed very odd!
It took over 6 weeks before the bank account was authorized but at least that was one more requirement taken care off.
In the mean time we found a translation company that provided certified translated documents and for a fee of £48 obtained a French copy of Naomi's birth certificate.
With all the documents now obtained we drove back to the Assurance Maladie today and we both had smiles on our faces to see 'Stinky' was not at work and instead we were helped by a very helpful woman.
She took all the documents and said that it would take around a month to process the request and for Naomi to be covered within the French health care system. In total it will have taken over 3 months to obtain the cover which is farcical especially as her entitlement is only for 2 years cover from the conversion of her UK health care benefits and the clock started ticking on the issue date of the S1 form.
I will update this post hopefully in a months time to say we have the cover......fingers crossed.