towards a less discriminatory “right to be forgotten” in France

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To take out a loan in France, people who have overcome cancer often have to pay significant premiums. To put an end to this inequality, the government wants to shorten the period after which a person is no longer obliged to report a previous illness to their banker.

It was an election promise by Emmanuel Macron and a much-awaited measure by associations fighting against cancer: to reduce the period of the “right to be forgotten” for bank loans granted to former patients from ten to five years. The evolution of the legislation appears to be on track since deputies and senators reached a compromise on Thursday, February 3, with a text validated by a joint commission. This text has yet to be voted on one last time by both chambers, next Thursday in the National Assembly and on February 17 in the Senate.

The parliamentarians, in addition to reducing the period of the right to be forgotten, have proposed to remove the medical questionnaire for mortgages under € 200,000 and whose duration is before 65And birthday of the borrower.

Excellent news for the associations which, coincidentally, falls on the eve of World Cancer Day. “It is a historic vote. This allows the healed to access the loan under normal conditions”, estimates Isabelle Huet, director general of the RoseUp association, at the forefront of this fight.

“This is a big step towards the inclusion of people who have had cancer,” confirms Catherine Simonin of the League Against Cancer. “With the right to be forgotten we enter common law and we are no longer penalized by the disease we have suffered”.

The right to be forgotten was created in 2017 in France. At the same time, the AERAS agreement (“insurance and loan with aggravated health risk”), signed between banking professionals, associations and public bodies, has facilitated access to loans for former patients.

Despite these advances, asking for money for a home loan or consumer credit after cancer is an uphill battle. If the loan is not rejected, the delays are endless and the rates imposed on the borrower’s insurance, calculated according to a reference grid that lists the different types of cancer, prove prohibitive.

The double penalty for the sick

Specifically, if a person who has been affected by cancer does not have a relapse five years after the last treatment, they will no longer have to notify their bank. And therefore, avoid paying additional insurance premiums because of the risks.

“On average, the premiums reach 300%,” explains Isabelle Huet. “Furthermore, it happens that these borrower insurances provide for exclusions, that is, you pay but without being covered by certain risks. Finally, some people prefer to give up their plans or are inclined to lie ».

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However, hiding information about your medical history when taking out a loan carries risks. In the event of a problem, the insurer can be released from any liability.

“It is the double penalty especially for the youngest patients who realize that they cannot buy their main residence or invest in professional premises”, remembers Catherine Simonin.

“Criminal record”

To these difficulties in accessing loans is added the trauma of being constantly brought back to his condition as a former patient.

“A doctor tells you that you are cured, but when you want to take a loan you are told that you are still at maximum risk as if you were still sick. It is extremely violent,” complains Isabelle Huet. “The problem is that there is a lag between medical progress and the insurance industry’s calculation of risk,” adds the activist.

With this strengthened right to be forgotten, people who have suffered from cancer will therefore be able to think about getting back to normal life more quickly. In France, nearly four million people are estimated to have or have been affected by cancer.

“This is an essential step towards regaining a normal social life”, assures Catherine Simonin. “That’s five years of earnings for former patients,” sums up Isabelle Huet. They will finally be able to get rid of this type of ‘criminal record’ that sticks to their skin. “

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