Monday, 5 November 2007

Healthcare and No Decision Yet

We are in an unusual situation.

Richard was a Police Officer in England, and injured on duty. He was ruled as unfit (physically, not mentally!) to deal with the public and therefore was offered ill-health retirement. This led us to review our life, and we made the move to France. We have never regretted it for a moment!

Having only 22 years service, Richard gets a pension quite a bit lower than what he would have got after his full 30 years, but it does attract index-linking - unlike early retirement pensions which are static until you are aged 55.

Do you get the impression that I worked for the pensions industry all my life?! How right you are......

Independently, the Government assessed Richard and decided that he qualified for an Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit because his injury precludes him being able to do most types of work. In practise this means his pension stays the same, but the Government pays a part of it.

As a knock on effect, whilst Richard receives the IIDB, our Child Benefit has to be paid by the UK. If the IIDB stops for any reason (even for a short length of time) the Child Benefit stops too and becomes payable by France. All very complicated, especially since he had to be assessed by both the Government and the Police each year to check if he was still unfit for work.....

Luckily commonsense came in after a few years and the UK Government Doctor decreed that he was injured for life - and we have a letter confirming their decision.

What is the problem now?! The new healthcare reforms in France. Basically they state that any one under the State Retirement Age of France or their home country, have to pay fully for any health treatment in France (via an assurance usually).

For a couple our age, this cover will cost about 4000€ a year. With two young children, this cost escalates a lot higher. We cannot afford it - and therefore it will 'break' our dream retirement here.

Today we spoke to the UK to ask whether the fact that Richard has an IIDB will make the new rules not applicable to us (we have always paid our French contributions and are continuing to do so). They think not - this benefit was not detailed as an exemption.

However they pointed out that CPAM has told them that if you have been in France for 5+ years you will not be effected by the healthcare changes. What?! No one has mentioned this?!

Next we phoned the English speaking CPAM Help Line (by the way, their English was not very good). They said that they are awaiting clarification on this point - the French Government has gone away to reconsider AGAIN the changes for people who have lived in France for 5+ years but CPAM have not been given an indication of when a decision will be finalised.

So.....keep your fingers crossed. It is not all cast in stone yet!

Went down to Schiste in Faugère to top up our wine canisters - and noticed that the top quality red en vrac has gone up to 1.50€ a litre! That's more than a 50% increase since we came out 5 years ago?!

Picked up a bottle of red and a bottle of white vin primeur Clamercy and tried them both tonight (one glass of each only, I promise!).

They were interesting - not at all like Beaujolais Nouveau which I detest.

The white had a faint pink blush to it and was fruity and dry, with no aftertaste. Unusual flavour, but would go with fish.

The red was light and fruity, with no after taste. VERY like Ribena in fact, so I would not drink it with food!

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