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Help with Carte Vitales please?


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My self and my family have been living in France now for just over a year.  We have Carte Vitales using the E106 which expires in January 2009.  We do have top-up health cover.  Earlier this year we  started our own business (a micro-enterprise), with me as a conjoint collaborateur.  We understand that our cotisations for the first year will be approx 200 euros and we are advised that for the second year this will then increase according to the benefits we receive.  At the risk of sounding a bit thick exactly what does this word 'benefits' cover?  Are we correct in assuming that we still continue to pay a top-up fee?  Any advice would be welcome as we seem to be getting conflicting versions.  Also, are we expected to hand back our carte vitales in January?

Thanks

Deb

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You should have already signed up for health cover as part of registering your business, and should have made payments already if you have been going for more than a few weeks. As soon as your business started, your E106 cover will automatically have ceased, and you will now be covered not through your local CPAM but by whichever caisse, affiliated to RSI, deals with your line of business. That means your existing cartes vitales are superseded, and you will be issued new ones by your new caisse. The payments you quote sound rather low, so I wonder what is the source of your advice?

As far as benefits go, you will get the same as you had before. So you should maintain your top-up insurance, either keeping the existing one or changing to one offered through your new caisse.

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Thank you for your response. We set our gardening business up with the help of the local Chamber of Commerce.  We had been working for 5/6 weeks then got called in to see MSA (Mutualite Sociale Agricole), we did not have many clients at all at that time and it was marked on file that we were working about 4 hours a week.  We were expecting to be asked to make payments but heard nothing from anyone.  We contacted our (English speaking) accountant who said 'Don't worry, MSA will contact you'.  Earlier this week I spoke to the Chamber of Commerce (the lady who helps us, speaks English as our French is basic) who agreed to contact MSA on our behalf and it was them who advised us of the 200 euros for the first year of cotisations. They also told us that it doesn't matter how many hours we work in the first year ( it is now about 6/8 hours a week) the bill will still be 200 euros.  I should point out that we are keen to be 'in the system' properly and be seen to be paying our way.

We are still using our original carte vitales, my son has just broken his wrist and we are having x-rays etc without a problem.  So we are not sure what the situation is.

 

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You will find RSI are probably very slow to process your registration at the moment. Ours took 8 months and many visits to their office; we still only have a temporary social security number after 10 months and certainly no carte vitale, though we can reclaim medical expenses. I am not sure about 200 euros, we have paid over 2,000 in the first year.

regards

Lisa

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It sounds as if initially you were badly advised by the Chambre de Commerce. My understanding is that anybody whose work is connected with the land should register with MSA in the first place. I have also heard - perhaps somebody could confirm or otherwise - that RSI does not get involved with people registered with MSA, you deal with, and pay, MSA direct.

I would also imagine that your initial cotisations are based on the fact that MSA think you are working 4 hours per week. The potential problem with that is that if you actually get more income, from more jobs, you can get charged interest and penalties on the under-paid cotisations, so it does not pay to under-estimate your initial income. This is something that your accountant should be advising you about - MSA does seem to operate differently from most other caisses in many respects, so in your case you may well be OK.

As your existing carte vitale is still working, it looks as if your health registration and SS number have not yet been moved from CPAM to MSA. As you have used your carte vitale since starting the business there could be problems, but these should be sorted out between CPAM and MSA - they may try to involve you, but it's not your fault. Again, this is something the accountant should be able to help with, especially as you say your French is not yet fluent.

These can be very confusing and worrying times. I remember when I registered. There was no problem over the health cover but for the vieillesse it took forever to find the correct caisse for what I do (I believe in your case you will pay MSA for this too). And when we did find one that was willing to accept my (compulsory) money, they sent a bill for over 17,000€ - about 75% of the first year's income. Fortunately I had a very good accountant who sorted that out, but even with the best advice in the world there can still be headaches.

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