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Help paying for glasses to fall

Reimbursement for pair of glasses to be capped at €350 in 2015, falling to €200 in 2018

THE FRENCH government plans to cap the amount of money paid back to people who need prescription glasses.

The level of reimbursement for glasses is set to be capped at €350 in 2015, falling to €200 by 2018. The €100 ceiling for frames will remain.

The cap is part of the government’s plan to cut the amount if pays out in complementary health insurance and follows in the wake of the consumer protection bill, or Hamon law, which came into effect in February. Part of the new bill aims to open up the sale of glasses to greater competition from internet-based suppliers.

Reimbursements for replacement or second pairs of glasses - with exceptions for children or for changing prescriptions - will be limited to once every two years.

The decision has angered opticians, and manufacturers of optical equipment, who say they are concerned about the impact of what they call the government’s “hidden delisting” of optical equipment.

Alain Gerbel, chairman of the opticians’ union FNOF said of the current plans: “Complementary health reform is a sham, which will lead to increased healthcare costs.”

His comments contrast with many mutuelles, who say that the high level of reimbursement is keeping costs high.

And, in 2012, eyecare tycoon Alain Afflelou called for glasses said glasses should no longer be reimbursed by social security.

And the government has said that the “dialogue is not over”. A draft decree is set to be published at the end of March.

Last year, a study found that a pair of glasses in France cost more than anywhere else in Europe.

And, in September, state auditors said that the Sécurité Sociale should look at ending the reimbursement of expenses for spectacles and contact lenses as a way of easing the benefits budget deficit.

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