I WAS interested to read your article on EU healthcare rights (February) as I have had a very recent experience on this issue that may be relevant.
I am an early-retiree British resident in France; my E106 expired last year and my E121 will not be issued until 2012.
For the intervening period, I have been accepted into the French healthcare system, as cotisant to the couverture maladie universelle (CMU) on grounds of residency (I became resident in France before November 2008).
This means that I pay eight per cent of my income in social taxes, above the relevant threshold allowance.
I recently needed a minor operation and chose to return to the UK to have the operation performed privately by the same surgeon who had operated on me five years ago.
Just before leaving, I inquired as to whether I would be entitled to any reimbursement from the CMU for this treatment.
After two visits to the CPAM offices and several telephone conversations, the Sécurité sociale, who themselves had had to familiarise themselves with new regulations, finally informed me that, because I am cotisant, I would be eligible to obtain some reimbursement, but I would need to obtain a medical certificate from my French GP, stating my reasons for wanting treatment in the UK, and requesting the form E112.
My doctor should send this to CPAM. The E112 would then be issued by CPAM and sent to Paris for approval. I was told that the E112 can only be obtained in this way and that it is crucial to follow this procedure.
I therefore visited my GP and he very obligingly wrote a certificate and sent it to my local CPAM medical centre.
As my operation was imminent, it may be that the request will have been made too late, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. I await the outcome.
However, as in all matters involving French bureaucracy, considerable patience will no doubt be required before I receive some sort of response, although I have to say that CPAM was extremely helpful and courteous.