Thursday, March 27, 2008

Health Questions

1) What is the University Health System like? What services do they provide and are these services covered by tuition or insurance of any kind?

2) What are the University's policies on giving medication? Is it available the same way it is at U of M?

3) How much are everyday medications, such as aspirin, tums, etc? Is it better to buy those in the U.S.?

4) Are the University counselors/psychologists readily available? Are visits covered by insurance?

5) Have there been any major problems with people getting sick (flu, etc.)?

6) What options are there for healthy eating and exercise? Anything we should avoid?


Sally said...

1. In Aix, I am not aware of any University Health System. Health care in France, however, is much more comprehensive than in the US. The University requires you to purchase the security sociale for around 180 euro. If you think you might go often to visit the doctor, I would suggest also buying additional covereage (un mutuele, I think it is called) which will reduce your co-payment per visit and make most medications virtually free. But even with just security sociale you have only around 20 euro co-payment to see your primary physician (comparable to many US insurance companies). In any case, I recommend getting the carte vitale, it makes life easier by limiting the amount of paper-work you will have to fill out to get reimbursed. That said, I believe I applied for my carte early on and did not receive it until second semester.

2. As I said before, I did not get any medication through the Univ. but I do know that, with a prescription from your doctor, medication is generally the same price or less expensive compared to the US. For example, with Sec. Soc. my bc pills were 6 euro/month. This, of course, can vary by type.

3. Everyday medications are available in drugstores in France, but it does occur that some medicines we are used to buying over the counter in the US are available only by prescription in France. I suggest bringing along a couple packs of anything that you use daily.

4. I am not sure about this one.

5. While I was in France, I had the flu 4 times. I don't know of this happening to other people in my group. This was unusual for me and very annoying, obviously. Twice I had to have a doctor come see me at home on a Saturday, (which they do!) though it is more expensive (50 euro) than a normal office visit.

6. Just like everywhere, it is important to be active and eat a wide variety of foods. Avoiding fast food is always smart and take advantage of the large variety of fruits and veggies at your fingertips. I also suggest that you walk a lot. The weather is beautiful and you probably won't have a car so this shouldn't be a problem. If you are normally very involved in sports or weight lifting, try to keep that up to a certain degree or else be prepared to see all that muscle melt away and become flab. Other than that, avoid eating too much foie gras, fatty cheeses and pastries... although, it's pretty tough to avoid.
Hopefully, though, you will be so active that the extra food won't have too much of an effect. Lastly, try to remember that there are a lot of calories in beer and wine! Moderation is key... =)

Nicole said...

1) As far as I know, there is no University Health business. You're going to have to pay for social security when you get here (they'll help you out with it), so you get reimbursed for most things.

2) Again, no university involvement. You go to the doctor (there's one that the bureau here recommends), he writes you a prescription for whatever's wrong (usually more medicine than you think you need; like 4-6 different ones for a cold, for example), and then you go to the pharmacy to get it filled.

3) I think we bought ibuprofen one time, and it was like 20 pills for a couple euros. I brought a lot of my stuff with me - aleve, cough drops (these are a good idea), and some allergy/sinus medicine. The aleve lasted until February, and I've still got the rest of the stuff left. I would suggest buying at least a bit of everything that you use regularly - at least enough so that you have a supply until you find out exactly what to do about it here.

4) I have not visited one here, but I have a friend who does. They set her up with a psychologist that she really likes - however, I'm not entirely sure about the visits being covered by insurance. If I had to guess, I'd assume that they are.

5) There are a couple of people here who seem to have been sick since we got off the plane because they're ALWAYS sick. It's mostly colds and stuff...I think there have been a couple instances of bronchitis, ear infections, etc. Nothing too serious.

6) The same as the states, really. Eat healthy (there's a great market where you can get freshly grown fruits/vegetables/etc, so I don't know why you wouldn't take advantage of it every once in awhile). Walk often, or get involved with a sports team (again, not can climb/hike the mountain here; you won't have a car, so you're going to have to walk; there are several parks for running and playing frisbee, football, rugby, etc).

Liz Dushaw said...

1) There is no university health system. Mme Feral (the french program director) can help you find a doctor if you need one.

2)Medication is lovely in france. In fact you may not even need a doctor. If you go to a pharmacie and tell the phamacist whats wrong with you they can give you some over the counter medicaiton which is must stronger than in the u.s because you have to get it from the pharmacist.

3.) As i remember correctly, aspirin was like 2.5 euro for like 24 tabs? something like that. its not cheap but not that expensive. Again you usually have to ask the pharmacist for this stuff and they will get it for you. If you dont know the name in french, which i never did I descibed what it was for and that usually helped.

4.) everything is covered by insurance but you have to pay up front and then get reimboursed from the state. Usually its like 70% back or so. Sometimes, its less. You get a sheet in the first two weeks with all the info on whats covered from Mme Feral.

5.)I got a couple female problem things when I was there and I saw a dcotor and all was well. It wasnt terrible expensive. Also on a female note, birth control is sooooooooo cheap in france. 5 euro for like three months. :). Like sally said, I remember her getting sick and so did a few others. I got a cold but there isnt anythign you can do about that.

6.) Theres a gym at the U and there is a pay gym thats nicer but its like 300 euro for the year. The fruit and veggies are so much better than in the U.S. That is the biggest thing I miss. The french have this thing against GMOs and pesticides and stuff so many of the stuff i bought was from local farmers at the market. It is more expensive than monoprix though.