The Carte Vitale is the health insurance card of the national health care system in France. It was introduced in 1998 to allow a direct settlement with the medical arm of the social insurance system. The declaration of a primary health insurance company (Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie) substitutes the card usage.
Since 2008, a second generation of smart cards is being introduced—the "Carte Vitale 2" carries a picture for identification and the smart card has additional functions of an electronic health insurance card to carry electronic documents of the treatment process. The first generation had been a family card carrying the names of all family members, thereby simply declaring they are covered by the French social security health care, while non-residents would need to use the European Health Insurance Card to prove their health insurance status.
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