With all the hand ringing over Obamacare and what will happen to the US healthcare system, the French system is often used as a barometer. Some say we need a French-style system while others poo-poo it. Well, I’ve just experienced my first foray into the French system and let me say, move over Obamacare and any other bloated alternative. This is the answer!
Everyone who knows me knows I never get sick. I haven’t even had a cold in years. So here I am in the middle of my Paris leg of this Europe trip and I’ve had a sore throat and cough, as mentioned in the previous post, that is being awfully stubborn. I had purchased GeoBlue International Travel Insurance before I left to cover me while I travel so I looked on the website for one of their doctors in Paris. I found the one closest to me and submitted an appointment request. However, the confirmation said I would hear back within 2-3 business days. I didn’t want to wait that long, so I decided to call and make the appointment myself. This is where the awesomeness of the French system began.
First, here’s the process of calling for an appointment in the US:
- Call doctor’s office and get automated phone system. Press 1 for “I Hate You.”
- Placed on hold waiting for a receptionist.
- Music stops and you’re ready to speak to someone. Psych! It’s just the “hold” music re-queuing.
- Ten minutes later (thirty if it’s a Monday), receptionist answers. She hates her job and you know it. (okay, no need to be sexist–if the receptionist is a male, he hates his job too)
- Earliest appointment is in a month, but you can go to Urgent Care.
- Oh, and that will be $50 towards your $5000 deductible. And any subsequent visits will be at 70% of the total doctor visit charge. And no, we have no idea how they calculate a doctor’s visit fee. Depends on where the wheel lands in the billing office.
What happened today:
- Called doctor’s office and it’s picked up by a live person after two rings.
- I explain the issue and he asks how far I am from the office.
- I tell him about 30 minutes.
- He says he can see me if I leave now because he has to make hospital rounds.
Wait a second! I’m talking to the doctor? The freaking doctor answered the phone himself and said I could come right in? That alone almost cured me!
I get to the office and I have to wait about three minutes as he is finishing up with another patient and go right in to see him. Super nice guy. He gives me an exam, prescribes some meds and it’s 40 euros. Total. That’s not a co-pay. That’s not an insurance price. That was the price of the visit!
Then I go to the pharmacy to get the prescription filled. There’s no “can you come back in 30 minutes?” She goes to the back, comes out with the meds and charges me, get this, 5,76 euros. That’s about seven bucks! Again, no insurance co-pay, nothing.
I gotta get sick in France more often!