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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

First, I apologize for the amount of health related topics I post on here, unfortunately I'm in a situation that forces me to do so. Anyway, I'm a Long Stay Visitor Visa (appointment at at the OFII next Friday), and I was wondering if I'm entitled to French Health Insurance after I get my passport stamped on Friday. If I'm not eligible for the health insurance provided by the state of France, would I be if my boyfriend and I decided to get married at the local marie? I'm not necessarily looking to jump into a marriage at the moment, but I take a medication that is 25,000 euros per month, and it's impossible to get it covered by my health insurance in advance in the states (i.e. I'd have to order it at the pharmacy in France, pay 25,000 euros, and then submit a claim to my insurance).


Also, I'm currently on a Visa that doesn't allow me to work in France, would I be eligible to work if my boyfriend and I decided to get married? How would all this work with my current Visa (i.e. should I just "enter france on a 90 day tourist visa" and then decided to get married, or should I keep my current visa even though it's quite expensive, and just get married?) ?

For me, marriage is an important thing, but I also think it's ridiculous how much is tied to marriage and how it's become so intrinsic with the state with "modern" civilization (I guess this is a discussion for a different forum). Anybody have any insight into my predicament? Thanks so much.
 

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Basically, the answer is "no" - on a visitor visa you are not entitled to sign up for the French health care system and, in fact, are required to have a private health coverage in order to get the visa in the first place. That will have to do for your first year here in France.

Getting married at the local mairie takes a good 30 to 40 days to arrange (just check out the paperwork involved here: http://photos.state.gov/libraries/france/45994/acs/usc_paris-marriage.pdf) and even at that point, it can take many months (and quite a bit more paperwork) before you would be added to your husband's health plan. BTW, the French health system works much like your insurance back home in that you pay for things up front and then are reimbursed - but under the French health care system, you're only reimbursed about 65 to 70%. For the rest, you need a mutuelle (a top-up coverage).

On a visitor visa, you are not allowed to work in France, and in any event, once you've paid for your visa there are no refunds so you might as well enjoy the stay you have paid for. Generally speaking, if you got married right off the plane, you'd still probably have to wait until your visa/carte de séjour comes up for renewal (i.e. at the end of your first year) before you can change your status to that of spouse. (And when you do that, you have a whole drill to go through with the OFII - classes, evaluation of your French, etc.) Never mind the fact that finding a job - of any sort - in France is a long, slow process these days. (And that's assuming you have a decent level of day-to-day French.)

To get your medication at a French pharmacy, I think you'll probably have to go see a French doctor and get a French prescription for it. Most states in the US won't fill a scrip from out of state, and it works pretty much the same way here. Then there is always the chance that they may use some other medication for your condition here in France - but the only way to find out is to hit the doctor's office and see what s/he says.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Bev,

Thanks for your reply. Lots of information to comb through. I saw a cystic fibrosis specialist in Paris yesterday, and he was able to provide me with a prescription for the medicine I need, including the very expensive one. He said the French health care system covers 100% or the medicine, as long as you have a carte vitale. The Heath insurance I got for France is really in case of emergencies, and doesn't cover anything else. I have primary care in the states,but getting them to cover the medication at a pharmacy here in advance is a big doozy. I'm not even sure it's possible.

With that in mind, I was thinking marriage could be a viable option for this unforeseen situation.
 

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ameli.fr - Votre situation personnelle change

This page seems to indicate that it is sufficient to be living with a person (vivant maritalement) to qualify to be attached to their health cover as an "ayant droit".
You will see the formalities that you have to complete in order to obtain this cover.

In the meantime perhaps you could contact your local CPAM and explain your situation and your intention to regularise things, to see if they will exceptionally provide 100% cover immediately in view of the cost of your treatment.

Alternatively, could you not return to the States to obtain a supply to tide you over the next new months until your situation is clearer?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ameli.frÂ*-Â*Votre situation personnelle change

This page seems to indicate that it is sufficient to be living with a person (vivant maritalement) to qualify to be attached to their health cover as an "ayant droit".
You will see the formalities that you have to complete in order to obtain this cover.

In the meantime perhaps you could contact your local CPAM and explain your situation and your intention to regularise things, to see if they will exceptionally provide 100% cover immediately in view of the cost of your treatment.

Alternatively, could you not return to the States to obtain a supply to tide you over the next new months until your situation is clearer?
Thanks for the response, Verite - I'm going to look into that later this afternoon.

Unfortunately, my insurance company only gives a "vacation advance" (i.e. they cover the cost of the medicine for three months upfront) once a year, so if I went back to the US, I could only get a month's supply. I have enough medication to last me until mid-July, but I wanted to get a head start on all of this as it obviously is very time consuming and a bit stressful. I'm looking into having friends bring the prescription over for me when they visit, but realistically, that's a temporary solution to the problem...
 

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reading the link posted by verite i was surprised to see that living as a couple gives you the same medical coverage as if you were married or PACSed [ sort of civil marriage ] except you have to renew your coverage every year

but you don't actually have to have a carte vitale to be covered ...getting one takes time ...this is france ! but after a matter of weeks you can be issued with a paper equivilent by the local office called attestation de droits a l'assurance maladie ; it says you can present it to doctors and pharmacies to prove you are covered , and the specilist you consulted confirmed you have a long term ailment for which all costs are paid , doctor consultations , medicine etc ; in which case you may decide not to pay for an insurance policy to cover the portion not paid for for other treatments [ or maybe you can claim this through your US insurance

so I suggest you get your partner to contact the CPAM office and get infirmation as follows

they will accept you as living together and this qualifies you [ you could consider PACS otherwise

they will issue the attestation before the carte vitale is available

how long would the attestation take , although you could pay up front and reclaim it doesn't sound practical in your case !!!
 

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Took a look at the link Verité provided and you probably should jump on that process for La demande de ratachement. But, as with all processes in France, it will take a while. And note that they indicate that they can (and will) ask for further information like "des pièces justificatives complémentaires en fonction de votre situation (titre de séjour, carte d'identité, etc.)." In your case, they may want to see "proof" of some sort that you are living together - i.e. your name on the lease or something similar. That's the sort of thing that will extend the process by quite a bit. (Though having the stamp in your passport from the OFII will definitely help.)

OTOH, be prepared to defend yourself a bit from the accusation that you are coming to France "simply" to soak up the health insurance benefits. (It's not a criticism of you, but it does sound a bit like it and it's the conclusion they may jump to at the CPAM.)

You'll have to decide if it may be worth it to get PACSd or married (there isn't really that great a difference between the two - at least find out what your local prefecture requires for the PACS). That may make getting onto your boyfriend's health coverage a bit easier - and he should also add you to his mutuelle (which involves him paying a second premium). Even when you're 100% covered by the sécu for a condition, you need the mutuelle to pick up other health care costs.

Good luck - this isn't going to be easy or particularly fast. But get started on it now and see how things go.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Took a look at the link Verité provided and you probably should jump on that process for La demande de ratachement. But, as with all processes in France, it will take a while. And note that they indicate that they can (and will) ask for further information like "des pièces justificatives complémentaires en fonction de votre situation (titre de séjour, carte d'identité, etc.)." In your case, they may want to see "proof" of some sort that you are living together - i.e. your name on the lease or something similar. That's the sort of thing that will extend the process by quite a bit. (Though having the stamp in your passport from the OFII will definitely help.)

OTOH, be prepared to defend yourself a bit from the accusation that you are coming to France "simply" to soak up the health insurance benefits. (It's not a criticism of you, but it does sound a bit like it and it's the conclusion they may jump to at the CPAM.)

You'll have to decide if it may be worth it to get PACSd or married (there isn't really that great a difference between the two - at least find out what your local prefecture requires for the PACS). That may make getting onto your boyfriend's health coverage a bit easier - and he should also add you to his mutuelle (which involves him paying a second premium). Even when you're 100% covered by the sécu for a condition, you need the mutuelle to pick up other health care costs.

Good luck - this isn't going to be easy or particularly fast. But get started on it now and see how things go.
Cheers,
Bev

Thanks for the responses again, everyone.

Bev, I could see how that could be the case (coming here for French health care), but my coverage in the states is fantastic, and the medicine I get is actually covered by the pharmaceutical company that developed the drug if you don't have medical insurance. So I guess that could be an easy way to defend my "situation"...
 
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