February 22, 2008

Social Security and Spain

Today was going to be an exciting day anyway, because in a few hours Morgen and I are leaving for a one-week trip to Spain. We’ll be in the town of Marbella, on the southern coast, just a short drive from Gibraltar—which we might also visit. Perhaps we’ll even get adventurous and take a ferry across to Morocco. We’re celebrating the 10-year anniversary of our first date (February 24, which is also the anniversary of Laura Palmer’s death—an oddly appropriate coincidence for a couple of Twin Peaks fans).

So, that would have been reason enough to be happy, but we have something else to celebrate too. On Wednesday we finally received confirmation from the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (the French social security agency, which manages the national healthcare plan) that we’re in: we’re officially covered by France’s CMU (couverture maladie universelle), and in fact our coverage was made retroactive to the day we applied, back in December. We have an actual French social security number and everything, which I think is just terribly cool.

Now, I realize that most people don’t regard a new health insurance policy as the most exciting thing in the world. But this has been a long and often very frustrating process for us; not so many months ago we had a bunch of different people telling us that we’d never be eligible for social security here, since we don’t have jobs in France (at least, not the way the French government thinks of jobs). Although we’ve had private insurance all along, it wasn’t great—a bunch of things weren’t covered, and we would have been in bad shape if any major medical expenses had arisen. But with the kind help of a friend who made some inquiries on our behalf and pointed us to the right forms to submit at the right office, we finally got past that hurdle. And now we can convert our third-party policy to a “top-off” plan that pays for what you might think of as the deductible or co-pay for the regular French health insurance. So we’re in good shape, and all for a mere (cough) 8 percent of our annual income.

Anyway: off to Spain! It’s our first European vacation since moving here last summer, and I can hardly wait. We’ll report back, with pictures, as soon as we can.

2 Responses to “Social Security and Spain”

  1. Johanna said:

    Wow, that is great news. That was the only thing that was missing, I think. Right?

  2. St. Izzy O'Cayce said:

    This “advice” comes way too late and can now only be a fervent wish that you avoided our pitfall. While staying with friends in Algeciras, we decided to do a Moroccan day trip, but had no local guides and were not brave enough to just go on our own. So we went to book a tour. The day trip tour to Tangier and ONLY Tangier was full, so we booked with a tour that went to Ceuta, crossed to Tetouan, thence to Tangier, and back to Ceuta again. We don’t recommend this trip to anyone. We saw virtually nothing other than the insides of our microbus and of carefully selected tourist shops. Bleccch!

    Here’s SWMBO’s blog entry on the experience, with links to flickr sets.