Doctors: New €60 ‘long consultation’ for over-80s proposed in France

Other specialists may also see their consultation fees increase

Disabled patients would also be eligible for the appointments
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A new ‘longer consultation’ with a doctor for disabled people and outpatients over the age of 80, which would cost €60, has been proposed by France’s Social Security body (Assurance Maladie).

It comes as part of plans to reach an agreement with doctors’ unions, who want to see consultation fees raised across the board.

These ‘longer consultations’ would be available once a year for people over the age of 80 or those classed as disabled (personnes en situation de handicap), who had either left hospital within the last 30 days or had completed an application for the allocation personnalisée d'autonomie (APA) benefit.

Read more: French benefit explainer: Apa, help to stay independent in older age

It would also be available for the same patients who had received at least 10 different treatments over a certain period for illness, such as rounds of cancer treatment.

The changes are a “political signal that we are sending to doctors,” said Thomas Fatôme, Director General of Assurance Maladie to media outlet Sud-Ouest.

The new proposals, including the long consultations, have taken into account the unions' requests for improvements, and he believes they are close to the final version of an agreement, which may be signed in the coming weeks.

Other consultations proposed

Alongside the long consultation, the new proposals would see fees rise for certain other appointments.

This includes €60 for a ‘paediatric expertise’ appointment, which would follow referral from a doctor, school doctor, PMI (Protection maternelle et infantile) worker, midwife, speech therapist or orthoptist.

Other appointments with new proposed price points include a session with a psychiatrist (€57), with geriatricians and gynaecologists (€40), endocrinologists and consultations for melanoma screening by dermatologists (€60).

These would be the base level fees, although doctors in other ‘sectors’ can charge more than the set rate.

Read more: Half of health specialists charge above set state rates in France

Social security would continue to reimburse 70% of the new rates – including long consultations – with top-up insurance covering the remaining 30% if the patient has one.

Read more: Five tips to reduce cost of your top-up health insurance in France

However, this would not only increase the Social Security budget – at a time when the government is focused on reducing national spending – but may also cause insurance payments to rise.

Originally, doctors unions asked for general consultation fees to rise to €50, from the current €26.50.

Assurance Maladie said they would set a rate of €30 if GPs cut down on the number of tests and treatments they prescribe to patients. Each GP in France on average prescribes treatments and medication totalling €700,000 a year.

Read more: €30 doctor fees, less drugs: how healthcare could change in France

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