9. Receiving Health Care in France
In the following section we outline the procedures, fee levels, and reimbursements for different types of medical care.
- General Practitioners
- Emergency Treatment
- Hospital Treatment
- Maternity Care
9.1. General Practitioners in France - Médecins Traitant
Before you can receive treatment (other than in an emergency) you need to register with a doctor as your médecin traitant.
As we outlined in Section 6, the process of registering with a doctor commences when you join the health system, either through your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM) if you are 'non-active', or as part of the process of business registration if you are to become self-employed.
Until you obtain your health insurance card (carte vitale) each time you have a consultation with your doctor you will be given a receipt (feuille de soins) by the doctor when you pay for medical services.
The doctor will also issue you with a prescription that you should take to the chemist to obtain your medicines.
The chemist should attach sticky labels on your feuille that gives details of the cost of the medicine. If the chemist does not do it you will find the labels on the medicine containers and you need to do it yourself.
You will need to take both the feuille, the prescription and your attestation (or European Health Insurance Card details) to your local CPAM for reimbursement. The feuille de soins will need to be signed by you.
The charging policy for GPs is fairly straightforward. If you see your doctor the standard charge for a consultation is €25 (2018). There are slightly higher rates for children under 6 years (€30).
You will receive reimbursement through the social security system at the standard rate of 70%, less €1.
So, in the case of a consultation with your GP this works out at reimbursement of €16.50, less the €1 surcharge directly payable by you, leaving €15.50 that is reimbursed. This leaves €8.50 to be funded by you, of which €7.50 may be reimbursed by your voluntary insurance policy (if you have one).
The €1 surcharge is not reimbursable by either the statutory or voluntary system.
Thus, in detail, for a consultation at €25:
Patient Charge - €1 Social Security - €16.50 (€25 x 70%) - €1 Complementary Insurer - €7.50 (€25 x 30%)
If you need to receive a home visit from your doctor, then a higher charge will apply. The social security system will reimburse 70% of these charges, less the €1 surcharge.
In addition, in certain cases a higher charge may apply for those consultations that are deemed to be 'complex' or 'very complex', which are stipulated in a list issued by the government. The fee for such consultations ranges from €46 to €76,70 (2018). The same percentage level of reimbursement will apply to such consultations, ie 70% and 30%.
You will only receive the full reimbursement for a home visit if it is considered by the GP that by virtue of your age or medial condition a home visit is warranted.
The fee charged by the médicien traitant excludes the cost of prescriptions, laboratory tests and other medical treatment that may be needed.
The basic fee covers only the consultation. You will need to pay and receive separate reimbursement for all prescriptions etc.
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