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Glossary of French health insurance terms

Affiliation: denotes your membership of one particular insurance organization, or regime, administering your health dossier and making reimbursements to you.

Carte Vitale: the use of the "Vitale" health card makes healthcare refunds easier. However, it is not compulsory. Your healthcare expenses will be refunded without any other formalities, just by presenting your "Vitale" card to health professionals. Before the card is issued, please keep the "Attestation Vitale" certificate with you. It is a proof of health coverage.

: regular payments which you make (usually through your employer, if you are salaried) in order to benefit from the partial or total payment of medical expenses incurred through illness, accident or pregnancy/ childbirth. Some of these payments are made directly by you (e.g. doctor consultation) and then reimbursed; others (e.g.major hospital expenses) are paid directly by the insurance agency.

Feuille de soins: This is the document given to you by the doctor or other health professional for services rendered indicating the amount you have paid for the consultation and the nature of the medical service given. This document should be completed and signed by you and forwarded to the insurance agency or, in the case of you having a top-up' mutual policy, to the 'mutuelle' agency to which you are affiliated (which usually deals with the percentage of social security to be paid as well as the 'top-up' element). If you have presented your 'carte vitale' to the doctor or other health professional, including the pharmacist, the 'feuille de soin' is usually not necessary since the sending of your details to the relevant insurance agencies will be done automatically. You will be reimbursed (to your bank account, with notification to you) according to the tariffs and rates fixed by social security and by the mutuelle concerned (that is, if you have a 'top-up' 'mutuelle' component to your insurance).

Médecin traitant: the designated attending general practitioners is in charge of regular healthcare and preventive care. He/she implements personalised medical care and directs his/her patients towards the appropriate specialised physician if necessary, either for a single visit or for recurring care. He/she updates the patient's medical record, coordinates healthcare and centralises observations from other medical staff.

: in English, a medical prescription prescribed by the doctor at the end of your consultation, listing the medicine (to take to the pharmacy), lab-tests or X-rays (to be undertakentake by you at a medical laboratory or radiography centre). The prescription comes in duplicate, one of which needs to be forwarded with the 'feuille de soin' to social security, unless the 'carte vitale' is used by the purveyor of the services.

Regime: term used to designate the insurance scheme to which you are attached for social insurance purposes, depending on your doctoral status (either student or salaried).

Statut d'ayant droit: a status allowing a person without health insurance to benefit from the social protection of another insured person. In order to benefit from this status, you must be able to give proof of your family link to the person who is insured and to give evidence of your own status as a resident in France (a valid residence permit).

Tiers-payant: the direct payment by the mutuelle of part or all of the costs of certain medical procedures, undertaken when you present your 'carte vital'e and 'mutuelle' membership card.

Updated on July 24, 2014

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