This methodology was very much under the microscope for many of the users because it avoids paying upfront and then being reimbursed. Depending on which was the consultation, the up-front payment was standard or higher. Read on to find out why it is a challenging dilemma for French people today.
In the old scheme French people going to the doctor had to pay up front and then get reimbursed. According to the French Government, this presented several problems for the practitioners and the patients:
- Some people in the middle classes did not go to see the doctor because they didn´t have the money to pay up-front and then wait for the reimbursement. This made many people delay their visit to the doctor and worsen their conditions. By the time they finally did, it was to an emergency unit. Most times they could have been cured on time avoiding more expensive and painful treatments.
- Practitioners handling money were exposed to assaults and thefts because everybody knew that in a doctor´s office at the end of the day there was a big amount of money for all the day´s consultations.
- Before it was widely implemented, it already covered up to 35% of all health practices in France including pharmacists, nurses, medical biologists working at laboratories and many other making an adverse difference to those professionals who didn’t.
With the implementation of the third-party payment, the access to health care shall be easier for all the population. One of the promises of the SHI was to assure that all legal French residents will have equal access to healthcare regardless of profession, income or social status. This is a move that, with the correct implementation could lead to a better access for all the population and the blurring of the social stratus differential lines that exist today in France.