Sometimes Parisians can be really nerve-wracking and the French-way-of-doing-things becomes frustrating. The most trying process needs to be the public health system.
It took me seven months to receive national health insurance cards for my kids and myself. They had forgotten to issue one for my husband who is after all the person paying for it. Once they awarded HIS card another two months later, they got the dates wrong of one of my kids so we had repeat the process. On top of this vital "CARTE VITAL" which is what the French call it, it is wise to contract an additional private health insurance. They SHOULD cover any remaining costs after your bill has gone through the public system, and since the public part only covers a small part of your costs it sounded like a great idea ... at the time!!!! In actual fact I probably paid less in Switzerland with full-blown medical coverage (I read somewhere that the average Swiss is 70% overinsured!!) than I do in France.
Today I needed to pop into a pharmacy to purchase some medicine for my dear hubby. Little did I know this was to be an unforgettable episode in the French health saga. Now how difficult can it be to buy a box of pills?
- you run through the pouring rain and rush into pharmacy
- you stand in line
- you are welcomed by a grumpy lady pharmasist with a fluffy hairdo and red lipstick
- she scans the handwritten prescription you received by the unfriendly French ophtalmologist
- she scans again because it didn't work
- you hand over your CARTE VITAL, your health insurance card with a digital chip revealing all your personal details
- you give her your private health insurance card to cover the difference of price since the public national health insurance covers peanuts
- she goes to the back of store to do I don't know what
- she comes back to front of store and rummages through the shelving system
- she opens the bottom shelve but can't find the medicine
- she opens the top shelve and can't find the medicine
- she opens all three shelves in beween and still can't find the medicine
- she goes back to the bottom shelve and finally finds the box of medicine
- this process is repeated twice since I asked for three different products
- she scans all three medicine labels and realizes that one medicine is not in the computer system
- she calls someone else to QUICKLY add it to their computer system
- she finally hands me the three boxes and asks me for 15.85 Euros ... hello?... I have TWO health insurance cards and I still need to dish out cash?
- Now, if I don't get home within five minutes I will miss my grocery home delivery and there will be no dinner tonight. Au Revoir, Madame!
Ah, c'est compliqué, la France!!!!