Obtaining a social security number and a health insurance card: an obstacle course

Extract from Récit de Tiziano • 25 years old • Man • Italian

My employer needed my social security number in order to fill in my contract file (and I needed a Carte Vitale (a health insurance card), in case something happened to me…). And all that took a very long time! I had trouble understanding the formalities needed on my part: I simply provided the documents requested when I went to the Caisse d’Assurance Maladie (Health Insurance Fund). I was confident, I thought things were going to get done quickly… A year later, my subsidised employment contract was renewed, but I still hadn’t receivedmy Carte Vitale nor even a provisional insurance number. Thankfully I never had any need for medical treatment or medication. It was only after my second year of employment that I discovered that my health insurance hadn’t been activated. I needed a number to give to Pôle Emploi in order for my employment benefits to start to be taken into account. It was a complete mess! When I began collecting this information I only had three months left of my contract: I was told that clearly I hadn’t provided all the necessary documents or that my file had been lost. During the preceding months I had gone to the Social Security Office to declare a change of address when I moved and I always provided the documents that were requested, even documents I had already provided previously. For example, this is the case for my birth certificate which I had to provide on numerous occasions. It’s not as easy as it seems since it can’t just be a copy of the Italian document; it needs to be in French and be less than three months old when it actually certifies an event that occured nearly 30 years ago!). I therefore had to ask my family to go to the town hall in my home town, obtain this document and send it to me so that I could present this “fresh” document each time.

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