This is France as I see it… It’s not meant to be an official guide and it’s only my opinion on some of the things that make France “France” for me.
A is for Assurance Maladie
Assurance Maladie literally means illness insurance and is essential here.
France has an excellent healthcare cover so long as you are employed, retired, on benefits or contribute as a self employed person. I’m sure there are some exceptions to that like for housewives etc but knowing France maybe they’re not covered?
As an employee or self employed person you contribute heavily into the black hole which is the “secu”. Why a black hole? Well, the healthcare system has tremendous debt and on top of your contributions anyone earning income from assets also pays a further tax to help remedy the black hole. Eversince I have lived in France the black hole has existed and somehow it just keeps getting bigger.
Maybe one of the reasons is the huge number of pills the French pop for the slightest ailment. Go to the Doctors with a common cold and you’ll come out with a prescription a page long for various medicines (probably including parecetmol, saline water etc). Most of these remedies will be paid for by the state medical cover, the majority will be reimbursed to you at 70%. Cost for a cold? 23 Euros for a Doctors appointment plus at least 15 Euros in medication!
I’m digressing. Despite the unfortunate circumstances that occurred around the birth of Baby Piglet, I do appreciate the French healthcare system. You have access to top Doctors as soon as you can convince the secretary to give you an appointment and emergency care is excellent (depending on where you go obviously).
When I had uveitis at the end of 2011, the total bill for my medical care came in at over 6000 Euros. This didn’t include the taxi I took every day to and from the hospital (100 Euros each way) or the laser eye surgery I had afterwards (not sure how much that cost). Thankfully because my illness is recognised by the state as being a long term affection I didn’t have to pay a penny. Not even for the taxi.
Suddenly all those heavy contributions seem well worth it. I cannot think of a better country in which to be ill, so long as you have cover of course. I am grateful for the French medical system and in awe that it’s still running as it is despite the incredible waste of funds.