Sorting out my acronyms and health cover!

Dear All,

Hi, I've just registered as an English teacher under auto-entrepreneur and the acronyms are driving me nuts!

I'm trying to get my social security number (didn't have one previously) and my carte vital. As I understand it (and I'm not sure i do at all):

Urrsaf: are just there to take my payments. I tried to contact them and they said they are not responsible!

RSI: ??? Perhaps they are responsible but I can never get any e-mail reply from them (and who are they anyway)

RAM: I'm fairly sure they are responsible for my couverture maladie and social security number but after much searching I'm still unsure how to contact them and where they are.

Unfortunately my french is so-so. I can chat to local friends but standing my ground on the telephone to a government agency that speaks acronym french is beyond me.

Anyone got a useful mail link I could use? I'm in the 71 region.



Nina, have a look through the useful links page There's a lot of info on health, AE and in particular what urssaf does.

Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie - all makes you feel a bit sick doesn't it?

Agreed Nina, it's all a puzzle and a mystery. My wife and I just went to CPAM [which means what?] and asked them nicely! Seemed to work, but we still haven't received our carte vitales!

If your RSI office is too far for you to go, there should be a representative who comes once a month to somewhere near you. Go along and talk to the RSI representative. They should be able to get things moving. But as everyone says, it can take ages to get the Carte Vitale. RSI themselves never reply to messages but my local rep has been very helpful. I get top-up insurance from SOFICAS - English speaking, so very helpful. Bonne chance!

It took us about 18 months to get my wife's Carte Vitale. We too are with RAM (Friendly but unable to really help) who are subject to RSI (even the French will shake their heads in sympathy at the mention of RSI - they are notoriously useless). For URSSAF you could think of DHSS in the UK - too big and remote to be interested in your individual case.

I have a folder about two inches thick of the correspondence with RSI. You just have to be very patient and persistent and expect them to send back form letters requesting proof of your I.D translated by an official translator (at 45€ a go).

It is almost impossible to find any one individual who will take your case up and pursue it on your behalf, but I did eventually manage to get the staff at RAM to chase RSI for me - this seemed more successful than trying to go direct to RSI.

You have my sympathies and I'm sorry that the best way I cann help is by saying that what you are experiencing is 'normal'. Resist the temptation to make comparisons with the UK where (I now realise) we have a very different Culture of the rights of individuals vs. the state and the corporations.

Best of luck!!

How long ago did you register? You should start getting loads of post in about two weeks after you register.

For your payments, you do it online at (go to 3 étapes en ligne pour devenir auto-entrepreneur and click on 2. Vous avez enregistré votre activité d'autoentrepreneur > Inscriveez vous...

You will need your SIRET number. You should have got a letter from INSEE with it. If not, go to and type your name in the QUI (I found you so you have a number ;-) - Scary, huh?)

URSAFF is like HMRC - they break kneecaps for non payment. You will really not have much to do with them for the next few years and they will just send you invoices that are for 0 Euros (unless Hollande gets his way.)

RSI - Really Stupid Idiots. They will be the morons you will spend the next 18 months trying to get a Carte Vitale out of. They will ask many things of you which may include (buar are not limited to): translating eight chapters of the Bible from Malay to 16th Century French, Hopping around the Eiffel Tower three times whilst chewing gum and whistling La Marseillaise and recreating the lower left corner of the Bayeux tapestry - With bubble gum wrappers.

RAM - They are the ones you will need to send your Feuilles de Soins to for payment if you need to go to a Doctor.

How long qgo did you register? If you register as AE it should all be very automatic ...

You just need to fill in the forms that arrive little by little.

RSI: social security for independents

RAM: Online service for health insurance, where you can create an account.

Cipav: Pension

Your carte vital will follow, but I think you need to have worked a bit before it arrives, mine took 9 months years ago ...

If you are from the EU you can get a E-form stating that you have paid taxes etc (forgot the number but think it is 104) that you can deliver to the RSI and this should speed up the process, in theory.

Nina, did you get sorted? I too am an English teacher & yes it's the RAM that should give you your Social security no. Did you take out a top up but? Coz it will be them who sends you out your card, that's what I've been told & am waiting on.
Let me know if I can be of further help.

Bonne chance and thank you!

Hi Nina, We are in exactly the same position. We are going to see someone tomorrow who we hope can tell us what we need to do. Will report back!


Try and cross fingers, toes, legs and anything else that it will help.