How much does it take to live?


(Jane Williamson) #123

Here in 71 we go to the pharmacie and have nothing to pay.
I use my carte bleu at the doctor and receive it back, minus the deduction from CPAM into our bank account.
We pay the nurses by cash, if necessary, usually for 'flu shots or blood tests.


(Peter Goble) #124

Our doctor doesn’t have a card reader, so it has to be cash. She doesn’t have any support at all, no receptionist, no nurse, nothing. She works single-handed 0930-1830 weekdays including Monday, and Saturday 0930-1230. She’s remarkable and much admired here. She’s not French, I think she’s Romanian. She recently married and a rumour swept the town that she was leaving. She had to put posters up everywhere to scotch the rumour as there was mild panic locally. I asked her if she had established the source of the rumour and she smiled grimly and said “Oui” :zipper_mouth_face:


(Nancy Ellen) #125

Good question, and a lot of answers, I see. Hubby and I, both retired and in our 70’s, live in Nouvelle Aquitaine. We recently moved from a country house, and bought one in Angoulême, not in centre ville, but walking distance from town AND the train station, not to mention, my doctor and all grocery shopping, etc. I have an electric bike if I need to go further, plus there are buses if necessary. Our house is paid for, we owe no money for anything. Our house was surprisingly inexpensive. I think you can easily find a small house for 70,000 in this area. Our pension is very small, but we are easily living on under 900 euros a month ( this includes BOTH of us), we are actually saving extra money without even trying. . We don’t feel deprived re quality of life, we go out to eat, travel occasionally, can afford to fix things, and buy quality bio food, etc.

So, to answer your question, yes, yes, and yes, go for it!


(stella wood) #126

Our Doctor is always cheque or cash… which comes back promptly via CV/Ameli and our Mutuelle…

The Pharmacy take the CV and Mutuelle cards… and charge us nothing… phew… except for the very rare occasion … mmmm… seems to be when the stuff can be bought over the counter without prescription…:thinking:

Offering CV and Mutuelle at the outset, removes the need for us to pay anything upfront in nearly all situations…

The year when I needed 140 kiné sessions… phew… my CV and Mutuelle came up trumps…and paid the lot… I would not have been able to pay for that myself…

However, when a Specialist ask for upfront, despite me flapping my Mutuelle card at them…(Opthalmo/Ultrasound etc)…my payment is logged in the “great computer in the sky” and refund from Ameli and Mutuelle plops into my bank account… thank heavens…

BUT… it all depends on the details of the Mutuelle…everything comes at a cost… and this needs to be carefully considered when talking about budgets…


(stella wood) #127

Being near everything/walking distance… does make a great difference to what budget is needed.

Angoulême is a delightful town… how lovely to actually live there… :grin:


(Ann Coe) #128

Mine works this way too, I haven’t actually used it very much but I prefer to be covered.

Worked well when I had to have a small operation and a 2 day stay in hospital. Covered the return VSL to and from hospital, a 260 km trip, too !


(Mandy Davies) #129

I never pay anywhere and neither did hubby. Whether it’s the MT, les infirmières, pharmacie, cardiologue, dentiste, pneumologue, laboratoire etc. I (we) present my carte vitale (and mutuelle if requested) everywhere and it pays up front for everything.

However, our affiliation to the healthcare system is via his previous self-employment so doesn’t involve an S1. That may be the difference.


(Peter Goble) #130

I think that is likely to be the explanation, Mandy. We seem to be covered for everyday issues, but not for urgent hospital admission that hasn’t been arranged in advance. Mind you, Berlina was given an urgent appointment for cataract surgery but she had to pay upfront for the consultant ophthalmic surgeon (90 euro) to ‘board’ her for the operation, and would have had to pay 50 euro per day up front to ‘reserve’ a bed in a shared room, but for the mutuelle.

The actual operation was billed on her admission documents at 800 euro per eye. As she had no significant visual impairment we smelled a rat, and cancelled. The optometrist involved is local and operates from the pharmacy. He has avoided my wife’s eye when she goes in, and she says he looks ashamed. I think he was an unwilling dupe in a dodgy business to drum up trade, because eye surgery is franchised to a private healthcare consortium in NW France, and the protocols look fishy to me. I’ve seen these goings on in Jeremy Hunt’s tenure as NHS supremo.

I’m going to get Fabien’s view on this up-front charge issue, as I see no reason why we should be charged upfront if the UK authorities are footing the bill for our treatment and care here.


(stella wood) #131

Peter… I am wondering if you have got your Mutuelle actually “registered”… at the Pharmacy…

We have to do this each year, when a new Mutuelle card is issued… did you do this with your first M Card ??? If it is not registered then, of course, you will be asked to pay…

that could be a reason… there could well be others… let’s hope it gets sorted…


(Peter Goble) #132

Stella, our mutuelle only covers admission to hospital, not prescriptions at the pharmacie or consultations withe the MT.

There are some things that are free. Mammography and breast screening is free, including all radiography, ultrasound etc, the flu jabs were free including the nurses’ service in administering the vaccine. Berlina was also offered the free screening service for bowel cancer. Same as in UK.

But MT consultation has to be paid for, 25 euros even just to collect a repeat prescription which involves no examination or anything except swiping my card and printing out the same ordonnance. The actual medication is only 2 euros for a months pills. Our mutuelle doesn’t cover that, and I always get something back from the darling Amélie.

Fabien advised that it was not worth our paying for a top up mutuelle to cover MT fees and pharmacie costs as the mutuelle would be more expensive than the demands we make on the health service which are low, and for which we get 70% reimbursement of fees paid in cash.

But I’m slightly surprised that at our respective ages of 80 and 75 we have to pay anything at all, when in the UK NHS is completely gratis (except dentistry).


(David Martin) #133

Is your last paragraph referring to your S1 cover? If so it’s worth noting that the S1 provides the same cover as a national of the country that you reside in is entitled to, not the cover that you would have had if you had remained in the U.K.


(Peter Goble) #134

That makes sense, David.

I hadn’t realised that, so your pointing it out is very helpful and I shan’t be concerned at all now.

The service we get is very good, but there’s no doubt that it is operating under very considerable pressure everywhere, but especially in rural areas.


(David Martin) #135

I’m glad that’s been cleared up. :slight_smile: Because the basic French cover is about 70% that’s what the NHS covers for most things. If you have an ALD or other 100% cover they meet the full cost.


(stella wood) #136

Fair enough Peter… I obviously misunderstood what you had been saying… I thought you were saying that you paid 35 at the pharmacy… but now I understand that your medication is only 2 euro per month… phew OH and I have quite an extensive list and the costs are high… but all covered by Ameli/ Mutuelle… thank heavens…

As you so rightly say, Fabien takes on board what each person requires and then sorts out the best deal… :hugs:

This is one reason why I feel it is difficult/inadvisable for any of us to quote a ball-park figure for a Mutuelle… when someone asks about Cost of Living in France…


(Jane Jones) #137

I am on S1 and rarely have to pay anything upfront as most round here are now within the tiers payant system.

Peter it’s nothing to do with whether the UK foots the bill or not, its merely how up to date people are in sorting out their IT systems. When I first registered with my MT she was cash or cheque only. Then advanced to taking cards, and now has an ameli reader so I don’t pay upfront at all.


(Catharine Higginson) #138

Great idea!


(Peter Goble) #139

Well, I’m better informed now than I was 24 hours ago, Stella, thanks to the mighty power of SFN and its tireless little gnomic workers who never sleep in their mossy underground bowers but toil to make life sweet :owl::rat::rabbit2::pig2::cat2::monkey::hatched_chick:

But I did have to part with 35 euros for my shingle pills and shingle ointment, was able to pay by Carte Bleu, and should get a rebate in due course from darling Amelie. :heart::grinning:


(Ann Coe) #140

Hope that the treatment that you have been prescribed for shingles is having some effect Peter.

After all Berlina may soon have need of those dresses and other garments you may have appropriated :wink:

Seriously, do hope that you are feeling better now :hugs:


(Peter Goble) #141

Thank U Ann, definite improvement so far, bit of post-viral lassitude, but otherwise the antivirals seem to have checked the spread of the dreaded lurgie.

Berlina has a very extensive wardrobe and she never, ever discards a garment she has bought except worn-out undies which are saved minus elastic for polishing shoes or cleaning the car. :athletic_shoe::red_car::blue_car::grinning:.

But I only borrowed a nice silk dressing gown to wear while mine was in the wash, she is generous to a fault :heartbeat:


(norman clark) #142

Hi Linda. I think I now understand the situation here a little clearer, and although certainly not to any advantage I could see to myself- and indeed why should there be? Even though I am now French National thisonly takes one so far and certainly does not provide one with a ‘history’ - notably in the area of Pension payments, from which certain benefits are based. Oher benefits are based on EU Membership, and I am certain these will disappear if Brexit becomes a reality - or will be extra cost - and how could it be otherwise? You can’t even leave your local Golf Club Membership and still expect the same benefits, and when all is said and done that’s what the EU really is - a Big Club.
Personally I have no time for those who feel they are clever in manipulating (fiddling) the system. Here as I have said before I firmly believe the sytem is benign - if complex. Those ‘foreigners’ who abuse it, do neither themselves nor the rest of us any favours. However I am sure they are just the same people who would fiddle any system back in the UK anyway. If Brexit DOES happen they will be exposed quickly I feel, and deservedly be thrown out.
Nothing is free in this life, except probably the air we breathe; it surely logical to understand that if a service or benefit is provided it has to be paid for? At least the French make sure this is not crippling and supports those without resources, and how can that be a bad thing? Yes the bureaucracy can drive you mad, but it also provides you with a presence in the country against which many benefits can be judged and applied. I thik it is called Good Citizenship?
The numbers don’t always crunch in one’s favour, as in my case, but oddly it has worked in my favour by causing me to reflect on many things and re-assess the value of things I have and downgrade other problems. Fear and crankiness loom larger I find, the older you get. I should know that as a former Marketing Professor! Now I am looking at a way to structure the good things and dimlinish and try to eliminate the bad things. I think and hope it will work. It’s certainly worth some effort!