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EHIC Success!


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I have to admit that I've been more than sceptical over the worth of the EHIC card for visitors from the UK.  Not now.

Younger son is over with us and broke a glass of water during the night and then managed to (seriously) gash himself on it. Idiot.

Off to the local hospital first thing in the morning, seen initially (triage) within half an hour, then the doc half an hour later. Ten stitches, daily re-dressing by our local infermiere. Altogether, a forgettable occurrence.

However, the point is ...................... his EHIC card was asked for at the Urgences Accueil and accepted as 'payment'.

All the dressings and nurse visits are of course payable and then re-claimable, but nonetheless the hospital treatment was taken care of on the card. Pleasant surprise.


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Unfortunately the UK says it is only going to refund the 70 per cent as of 1 July. Before that it used to refund 100 per cent. However, if the bill goes straight to the NHS rather than you pay it and claim it back, it's difficult to imagine that the NHS will get its marbles sufficiently in line to work out 30 per cent and send out an invoice for it.
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Good news Gardian, tell your son to ring Newcastle for a code. When he phones them he should be sure to have his National Insurance / number passport number / NHS number to hand (details on their website). They will then send him the necessary forms which he should complete and return to them with the receipts.

I did this earlier this year and it all worked very well. I was warned that the refund could take up to 90 days (!!!!) but in fact it arrived within a week or so.

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Sorry about the accident, Gardian, and glad things went smoothly.

Am batting an eyelid at "daily re-dressings by our local infirmiere" Perhaps it's just me, and I am obviously not aware of the full nature and seriousness of the injury, but it does seem a lot of excessive fuss when anyone could do it. Of course, no offence implied or intended, just seems an expensive way of doing things, whoever picks up the tab.

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[quote user="You can call me Betty"]Sorry about the accident, Gardian, and glad things went smoothly.

Am batting an eyelid at "daily re-dressings by our local infirmiere" Perhaps it's just me, and I am obviously not aware of the full nature and seriousness of the injury, but it does seem a lot of excessive fuss when anyone could do it. Of course, no offence implied or intended, just seems an expensive way of doing things, whoever picks up the tab.[/quote]

I think that is quite normal here. It generates some income for the infirmières, whose charges are quite modest, and ensures that the wound is properly treated.

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[quote user="Chancer"]

Why are you surprised? It does what it says on the box.

Had you become influenced by all the forum legal experts over the years?


Gardian most likely remembers the problems we had when using my husband's EHIC last year - we both live in the same area, but very pleased to read that there were no problems at all for his son, compared with huge problems for my husband.

I fell and cut my nose about 5 years ago while staying at our apartment, and was taken to a hospital at Nimes - not the one where we had the trouble mentioned above. I had very quick assessment, at least until after xrays showed there were no broken bones, and was sewn up by a young woman who hadn't yet finished her training - she was extremely good at sewing up wounds, and the scar hardly shows. Nobody mentioned anything about paying, and we actually had to ask to find out where to go to sort this out. It took staff quite a while to find somebody who knew what to do with an EHIC card and by then we wished we had just left without drawing anyone's attention to our need to sort it out.

I had a visit from a nurse every other day to clean and dress the wound, after going to the pharmacy for a very large box with, I think, 12 packs containing anything that could ever be needed by a nurse in each for 1 time use. We  couldn't believe that this enormous box was for me, and the packs that weren't needed are kept in our cars and homes. I was surprised that the nurse came on Sundays and a bank holiday for very little difference in cost. I was extremely grateful for such care, but it seemed overkill on the supplies for my treatment, and it was no surprise to find later that cuts in health costs needed to be made in France.

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Similar story here.

Mrs Benjamin had a fall whilst we were on holiday. Left the shin skinning injury for 24 hours then decided to call a nurse to have a look.

Industrial size prescription for dressings (anyone want to buy some tubigauze? [6]) Prescription cost around €90! Spoke to Newcastle when we got home and 90 days later we were re-imbursed for the prescrition cost and three nurse visits in full.

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We have never yet had cause to use our EHICs, but in 1999, when we were

still resident in Spain, my wife broke her ankle while at a house we had

in France.

We went to the hospital in Toulouse, where they did

the necessary, and accepted her Spanish Health Service card. All we had to pay

for were a pair of crutches and the medicaments prescribed, which we

claimed for on our return.
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What does make me laugh is that I recently had an opportunity to compare the post-op treatment of ttwo female kittens after spaying. My UK cat received the sort of treatment we are reading about here as bsetowed on a French human being, the French cat got rather more of an NHS approach.....
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Thanks to all for your comments.

Yes, of course it should work, but I was decidedly sceptical. As it happened, the lady on Reception asked me for his card upfront, so she was obviously fully aware, which was really good. 

And yes, they might take 30% of the hospital reimbursement back out of the other bits, if you see what I mean. No sleep lost over that.

Except .................. what happened to him was potentially life-threatening. A near escape. 

BTW, thanks Cendrillon for the info on the reclaim process. We'll be on to that on Monday. His 1st week has been wiped out - no mornings out (waiting for the infermiere), no swimming, generally glum!!! 

So you retire down here for a quiet life and ........................[:'(]


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  • 3 weeks later...
Just a small update............

Last trip to la belle, my wife suffered a suspected broken ankle. Most fortunately, it was only a severe strain.

However, when I produced her E Card, all that happened was the doctor (our regular doctor in France), the pharmacy and the radiology clinic all demanded payment. They did, however, provide a brown facture/form in exchange.

I now find as from circa July 24th 2014, no more does the UK reimburse > 70% of the cost. This must be claimed from the "Local" CPAM. And what's more they demand the paper "Half" of the E-Card......

What paper half?

Having checked, the reclaim process from CPAM is apparently hugely bureaucratic, takes forever and would defeat all but the most determined traveller; particularly those lacking any French language skills.

(N.B. Not worth claiming on our annual travel insurance: the excess is more than the total cost!).

After all the political spouting, makes me really wonder what we have paid in for over so many years. And more so when one sees hordes of immigrants flooding the UK's hospitals who have paid little or nothing.

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Hi Gluestick.

Your use of the > symbol I read as "the UK will no longer reimburse greater than 70% of the cost...................."

Why should they when the CPAM doesnt? It was always a loophole where people who claimed in the UK recieved more than I did by reclaiming from the CPAM.

However, and maybe this is the crux of the matter, an accident like a sprained ankle would normally be 100% covered but with the typical French complication the ambulance may be, the urgences appointment would be, prescribed medicins 70%, follow up appointments 70% then the one Euro deduction for each acte, if you stay in the forfait journalier etc etc, all in all the UK could never work out what proportion a French resident would pay which is what they base their reimbursement on.

Perhaps now they are just paying out a blanket 70% on all claims which is a little unfair on those recieving emergency care.

Best answer is from now on claim your remboursements in France, its a very easy procedure, probably a lot simpler than in the UK.

Editted. Its not hugely beaurocratic, you simply show them your EHIC, une pièce d'identité  and a RIB, you will be given a supposedly temporary French social security number, all you do thereafter is write that number on the feuilles de soins and sign them, send them off to CPAM and the remboursement will be creditted to your bank account.

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Chancer Wrote: [quote]our use of the > symbol I read as "the UK will no longer reimburse greater than 70% of the cost...................."[/quote]

Badly expressed by me, Chancer.

Quote:"Since July 1 2014 you are no longer able to claim a reimbursement of these co-payments in the UK."


[quote]you simply show them your EHIC,[/quote]

Who exactly?

Docs, cliniques, pharmacy etc?

All they did was demand payment! And, when urged, provided the brown form; in truth, I haven't had time to even read them so far!

No request for ID by the way........


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That is the form, if you want to get it processed through the french system then you will need to make sure that certain parts are filled out or it will be sent back, the printer at the médecin or pharmacy that you are registered with will normally fill in most of the fields, you need to check and fill out of necessary the numéro d'immatriculation, thats the most important in theory they wont need anything else but they will send it back for any notpicking reason, date of birth, address etc, if its for prescribed medicin then you need to attach a copy of the ordonnance and also peel of the sticker from the médicine and stick it to the form, the pharmacien(ne) will usually do that for you. 
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This summer I had to see a French doctor and get a prescription from the Pharmacie. I paid both up front, then took the signed forms they both gave me to the Assurance Maladie (think I've got that right.) in our local town.

The lady we saw had never seen an EHIC card before, and frankly we weren't too sure what the process entailed, but she phoned up a colleague somewhere else and was given the information she needed, so she duly processed both forms while we waited. I had to show my passport, and we gave her some details off our cheque book so she could pay a cheque into our French bank account. The Assurance Maladie would negotiate with our NHS to recoup the money. We were lucky with our fonctionnaire, she was efficient, charming and very helpful.

I have heard that it's better to get the paperwork done before leaving France rather than waiting till you get back home. Don't know if our account has been credited yet, as we're in England now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just an update.

Before our son left us to return to the UK, we prepared a covering letter (from him) to accompany his claim to CPAM. Basically it asked if the reimbursement could be made to me, since it was his father who'd forked out for the nurse's fees and the dressings!

One month later, he has just received a letter asking him to provide a RIB in order that reimbursement can be made. Fair enough I suppose, but I can kiss goodbye to that €150-ish once it hits his a/c !!

Now he's going to have to ask his UK bank for a RIB and I can just imagine the chaos that's going to cause. I've told him that it'll have to an 'official' document, since the French don't do 'back of a fag packet' stuff.

Beginning to think that sending the claim off to Newcastle might have been a better option.

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For his own account, can't he just photocopy the top of one of his bank statements, which should have all the IBAN and BIC info neatly printed out?

On second, and even better, thoughts, could he not send them YOUR RIB, which would enable payment to be made direct to you?

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oh dear Gardian, just when do we stop taking responsibilty for our offspring?[blink]

As an aside, OH and I boarded the ferry and as we got our passports out ready to show we noticed both our EHICs had expired[:$]

I have now renewed them on-line and asked a neighbour to post them on to us when they arrive. I have the email confirming renewal but that's all. Fingers crossed we won't need to use the EHICs.

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