Our French Life - Planning a trip

Our Life in France




Our French Life - Planning a trip.

I call this country home now but it took a few years to stop saying back home referring to England, now we are planning a trip to England not home if you get my meaning.

But best laid plans and all that - Yesterday I realised that we needed a EHIC card to cover us for health insurance while we were abroad (outside France) and was told I would have to apply to Newcastle so I promptly telephoned them, after listening to a recorded voice for the longest time I finally was answered, I gave all my details and the voice said you have come through to the wrong department, I said but it is the number on your site to call! she said sorry I will transfer you, I then had to listen again to an even longer message with god knows how many options, again when finally answered and after again giving our details she said " I only deal withhealth insurance cards for UK residents" I said can you transfer me, she said sorry no but gave me a number - strangely the same number I originally called..I then had to redial and go through it all again only to be told I was through to the wrong number and they would transfer me..after waiting to be transferred for approx 5 minutes the line suddenly went dead with a dial tone ... I had been cut off.
I had remembered that I had seen somewhere on our CPAM on line account, that's our Frenchhealth service, something about it so went to find out, sure enough I could order it on line but every time I tried to it said " service temporarily unavailable - please try later" so I did time and time again, I then thought I would call the CPAM English speaking line but it was also unavailable, by this time I was starting to think there were forces stronger than me out there trying to tell me something but it may well have been the bad snow experienced by Northern France, this was confirmed when I call it today and the message says we are closed exceptionally.
I thought I would throw the question out to the wonderful networking site that is Survive France If you live in France and you are not already registered on here do so now it will keep you sane, it's free to join and there are an abundance of helpful posts and groups to join. check it out on the above link.

I guess we will have to wait until the snow clears or go to an office which is miles away. watch this space

I am now off to the Boulangerie to get something naughty





Posted by Roz . Russell at Wednesday, March 13, 2013 2 comments:


Hello Roz, it was so nice to meet you at last. Interestingly, we went to my brother last Christmas and my husband Paul passed out on Christmas Day evening - out cold. Naturally my brother rang 999 and the paramedics arrived promptly. The tests they put Paul through were amazing and very thorough - even when he had come round and wanted a cup of tea. At no time did they ask for an EHIC card, or anything like it. They wanted him to go to hospital but he would not. I cannot say that they would not have asked for more at the hospital but somehow I doubt it. They had already started filling out the paperwork stating that the address was my brothers - since that is where they had been called to, so you ever know!! Don't think they would refuse to treat an obviously english person. Hope we can meet up again soon. All the best and have a super visit.

Hi Nora, It was lovely to meet you at last at The VG in Cosse La Vivienne, sadly I am retirement age and John is a dependent on mine too, but I can't seem to get anywhere so we have decided to take out a two week helath insurance as the Ehic doesn't really cover you for much, better to be safe than sorry. hope to see you again at the VG's

I have had similar problems with Newcastle after my EHIC expired last year; and one year on I am still trying to get my new EHIC card from them. My Cart Vitale stopped working last week and after I discovered the on-line CPAM/ameli.fr was a complete waste of time I went to visit my local CPAM. Where i found a very helpful lady who assured me, after making one phone call to head office, that I would receive my new carte Vitale next week - I'm not going to hold my breath ! However i generally find that person to person visits to French offices are generally far more sucessful than letters, phonecalls and e-mails.

The English speaking CPAM helpline is best phoned in the afternoons - between 2pm - 6 pm. Phone number 08 11 36 36 46 . If you were to visit your local CPAM office in your area you can put in your Carte Vitale into the machine there and get your EHIC card that way. I can tell you that the Ameli.fr website for CPAM does not work, and has not done so for at least 6 months or more. I have tried it regularly to check up on reimbursements, and each time it asks me to try later - it never works. Also if you have submitted a paper form for reimbursements I was told the other day that at La Roche sur Yon they are only now just dealing with 28th January forms. I had a blood test on 8th February this year, submitted the form, having taken a photo copy, and I have still not received the reimbursement. This is terrible, as if one visits the doctor or has a blood test, there are notices on the walls of the offices which say the reimbursement only takes up to 5 days.

Such it life in France.

I take it you are not officially at retirement age Roz. We got our UK EHIC sent to us in the post. We wondered what it was at the time! But I am at retirement age and my husband Paul is my "dependant". What a palaver you are having to get the wretched card. I have had similar problems with the UK tax office. By the time you get through you are climbing the walls and bitter and twisted - and the voice on the other end says "there is no need to get cross" - grhhh. Best of luck though - keep at it.