French pensioner told to prove he is alive

A retired Frenchman became embroiled in bureaucratic nightmare after he was denied a refund through his state health insurance on the grounds he was dead. He has been asked to prove otherwise.

French pensioner told to prove he is alive
"Prove your alive" the bureaurats told one French pensioner. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

The 68-year-old man from the Vosges region was left aghast recently when he was informed by his insurers they could not process his refund.

“I received a letter on July 8 from the Social Security of Independent Professions telling me that the refund was not possible on the grounds of my death on January 4th 2010,” Jean-Mairie Sevrain told AFP.

Sevrain was only seeking a refund of €23 for a visit to the doctor to pick up some prescription drugs against diabetes as he has done “every three months for many years”.

“When I got the letter, I thought I was dreaming, then my wife and I started laughing,” he said.

“What is bizarre is that I am supposed to be dead but the letter indicates I had the possibility to appeal,” Sevrain said.

If that wasn’t hard enough for the 68-year-old to take, the situation became even weirder when he called up the bureaucrats at the social security agency RAM, which processes the reimbursements.

“’Prove that you are Mr Sevrain’,” he was told. The pensioner was forced to get a letter from his regular doctor to prove that he was who he said he was and that he was indeed alive and well.

Thankfully he was able to recoup his €23.

In France patients normally have to pay for a part of the medical care up front before seeking a reimbursement through a combination of the state's social security system or their mutuelle insurance.

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