U.S. take note Medical cards work in France | TheUnion.com

U.S. take note Medical cards work in France

Another decade-old innovation of the French Health Care System is the “Carte Vitale.” This credit-card-like card contains the holders’ basic medical information (blood type, allergies, current medications), insurance membership, emergency contact, etc.

Some of the information on the card can be reprogrammed (address, current medications, etc.); others are permanently embedded into it, including photo and signature. The card is reprogrammable at 24,700 locations nationwide. Over 220,000 medical professionals on the network used it 937 million times in 2006 … an average of 16 times per inhabitant!

When you visit a doctor, for example, there are no forms to fill out, just swipe your card in his/her terminal and hand him/her one Euro for the co-pay. You’re done! Payments are received within five days.

Carte Vitale was created twelve years ago and is currently exchanged for the second-generation card, which is more secure, flexible and powerful. Regarding security, the problem is almost nonexistent with 99.93 percent of the population insured. Furthermore, who wants a transfusion with the wrong blood type?

A huge drawback of the Carte Vitale is its cost: 2.70? Kidding aside, what about moving our antiquated health care system from where we are stuck to the 21st century?

Alain Lazard

Penn Valley

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