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.

Encore un essai

Our visit to the social security offices was totally different this time. The form from the Austrian health insurance was never mentioned again, instead Gergö got a French form (S1104) to fill out and a list of documents to supply. He had found the form online before and rejected it, because one of the first bits you have to fill in is the social security number he wants to request. Turns out, this is the right form after all. The other thing we learned is that he needs to translate his birth certificate again.

He did that, already during the lenghty process of being employed here. That was just a regular translator, however. Now he needs a translation by a oficially licensed translator. There’s a confusing list online. He spent an entire train ride to Paris grumpily complaining about it.

I can’t request my social security number with CPAM, because I’m not salariée, but indépendante. I have to talk with RSI, which is not in Massy, but in Paris, close to the Bastille. It looks like I won’t need to have my birth certificate translated, though, because mine is in German. Birth certificates in the five most commonly used languages (whatever that might mean) German, English, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese don’t need to be translated. I’m going there tomorrow, just to keep you entertained!


Personne ne répond à mes messages

As I feared and expected, getting permit 38a from our Austrian health insurance didn’t work, because we are no longer insured there. I didn’t do a lot of research before moving here, but I did read a bit about health insurance and nothing ever mentioned that form.

So my new approach is to found a micro-entreprise. A very small business, basically just myself. I will need this for tax purposes anyway, since I’m freelancing. So I filled out a form and submitted it online and uploaded a copy of my ID. Not only can you declare a micro-entreprise from home, France even has a word for submitting something online: télédéclarer! To download means télécharger, by the way.

I haven’t heard back from them, yet. But then I haven’t heard back from most of the French emails I sent either: neither the accountant in Palaiseau I contacted via email, nor the German/French accountant in Paris I sent a message to asking for an appointment. Another email I sent to an accountant was immediately rejected as undeliverable, even though the address listed on the homepage of their web site.

I’m starting to wonder if I’m exeptionally rude or if French companies just don’t believe in this whole courrier électronique. I’m also waiting for a reply from a company that makes software I might need for my job. I filled out a form and they contacted me in French and I replied in French that I would need help in English as I work for an American company who will also foot the bill. No news since.

Maybe I will need to start signing all my emails with “Nous vous prions de croire, Madame, Monsieur, à l’expression de nos salutations distinguées.” It translates to “Please accept, Madam, Sir, the assurances of our highest regards.” and it was an actual salutation used by someone writing to me.

Obtenir le laissez-passer A-38

For about two weeks I have had this unopened letter with my name on. I don’t open it, because I know what’s inside (my diploma) and because I expect that I will need to prove my address to the assurance maladie.

France doesn’t have an official system of registration like in Austria, so you often prove your address with utility bills, for example. For the affiliation with a health insurance, I’ll need to prove that I’ve lived here for at least three months. The only problem with this is: my name is not on the lease for the apartment, the utility bills are in the name of our landlady and my cell phone is pay-as-you-go, so no monthly bills either.

So I’m keeping my diploma in the unopened envelope, mostly because the address is printed on the letter itself and not on the envelope, so if I opened it, it would no longer work as proof of address.

So Friday afternoon we met up in Massy to go to the social security customer service center.

assurance maladie

“Is that it? No, that has to be a martial arts school.”
“What? Surely, that’s a yoga pose!”

Turns out it was the social security office.

I brought my unopened letter, my passport and our lease, but they didn’t want to see any of it. Instead, they told us to request the form S1 from our Austrian health insurance and bring that. Gergö immediately mentioned permit 38a / Passagierschein 38a, from the twelve tasks of Asterix. I can totally see myself going back there and getting different bits of information every time. And just to keep things interesting, I started to work freelance, part-time, remotely for an American company last week, so I should figure out tax stuff as well.