Le médecin traitant

I needed a prescription refilled, so I finally got my ass into gear and found a doctor. In the process I learned that a cabinet médical is a doctor’s office, not a small wardrobe where they store physicians in France.

During the appointment my new doctor took my history which only lead to minor confusion. She asked if I ever had grossesse. I wondered why she’d ask me if I was ever fat and was searching for the words to say something like “depends on what you mean by that”, when I realised it’s the word for pregnancy.

She filled out the form provided by my health insurance. Now I have to send it to the health insurance. Then she will be my treating physician; the person I call when I get sick and who can transfer me to a specialist if necessary. She also provided a form by herself, that I also need to fill in and send my insurance. It’s to claim back the 23 € I paid her for the consultation. That’s the standard rate, by the way. The form has room for name, address, social security number and signature. As far as I saw, there’s no space for my bank account details. I bet this means I will get a cheque by mail. I scoffed at the thought of needing the big pile of paper my bank sent me. It’s forms you need to fill out whenever you want to cash a cheque. Now I’m not so sure anymore.

But apparently it will all be automatic, once I have my carte vitale. That is, I still have to pay the doctor, but the reimbursement will be automatic.

The prescription (ordonnance, en français) works similarly. The pharmacist gave me a form to fill out, which I need to send to the health insurance to be reimbursed for the price of the medicine. Now all I need to do is find my health insurance number in the pile of papers everyone keeps sending me. I thanked the pharmacist for her explanation, put everything in my bag, turned around and promptly bumped into a shelf, while the pharmacist said “Attention!”. I apologised to the shelf and left the pharmacy only slightly embarassed.

I’d say “achievement unlocked”, but what with the mailing of physical letters still ahead of me, there’s still so much than can go wrong, or rather so much that is in danger of getting lost underneath a pile of French homework. I look forward to the day when the health insurance has deemed my birth certificate worthy of being accepted and will send me a carte vitale.

It hasn’t happened to Gergö yet, either, so there’s still hope they are just really slow.

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