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Why your health reimbursements in France may not be arriving

Email account problems have meant that up to 20,000 doctors have not been able to send the necessary forms for reimbursement 

A doctor at a computer looking puzzled

A computer email account issue has meant that doctors cannot send forms for reimbursement Pic: Goodluz / Shutterstock

Health reimbursements for thousands of people in France have been delayed due to email issues between La Poste and la Sécurité sociale, affecting up to 20,000 doctors.

Problems have hit doctors who use email addresses with the domain name, as these accounts have been “temporarily blocked” from access by any other platform since April 27, La Poste said, as reported by Le Parisien.

The block was placed on the accounts after a hacking attempt was discovered. Hackers tried to access the email accounts via usernames and passwords found online, leading La Poste to instigate the mass block.

To action reimbursements, doctors must send a form to prove that they have administered medical care, to avoid fraud. To do this, they must use external software that communicates with their email addresses. It is this external software that has been blocked.

Instead of the normal process, doctors have been seeing the error message “connexion impossible” when trying to send the forms, with the software suggesting that the user “check the username and password of the account user”.

This means that tens of thousands of doctors have not been able to send confirmation of care forms to la Sécurité sociale, delaying reimbursements to patients.

Alberto Prados, a physiotherapist in a practice in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, told Le Parisien: “We've been blocked from sending data to the health insurance system for a week, so we're not getting paid.”

It is not pure chance that so many doctors use the La Poste service for their professional email accounts; it is one of two recommended by la Sécurité sociale itself (the other is Orange), as the accounts usually work well together due to their use of similar security protocols.

And while the service has not yet issued a definite date for a fix, it has said that “the accounts of health professionals will be unblocked first as a priority” as soon as possible.

It has said that it hopes services will be back online and working as normal by Monday, May 9, with all accounts set to be fixed - it hopes - by mid-May.

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