Healthcare in Rome



The World Health Organisation ranked the Italian health care system as the second best when it comes to providing excellent health services to its citizens. Rome benefits from many state-funded medical assistance and expats moving here will be glad to know that their healthcare needs will be well provided. 

Healthcare in Rome is classified as a mixture of the private and public sectors whereas the latter is under the supervision of the Ministero della Salute (Ministry of Health). All Italian citizens and foreign nationals that have valid visas, resident permits or residence certificates are eligible to the Italian healthcare. Expatriates working in this city are also entitled to receive healthcare as long as they are officially registered with the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale or SSN which is Italy’s national health care plan. 

Understanding the Public Healthcare System 

The Italian public health care system is also known as Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), a national health coverage funded by taxes. Contributions of employed individuals will be made by their employers by deducting a certain amount from their salary while self-employed expats can opt for voluntary contribution. This universal insurance scheme offers free or subsidised services as well as a wide array or healthcare coverage including: 

  • Immunisations
  • Check-up exams
  • Diagnostic exams (blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound)
  • Home visits
  • Prescription drugs
  • Hospitalisation with a referral from a General Practitioner
  • Rehab treatment
  • Prosthetics 

Members of the SSN are eligible to the same medical and health care benefits that an Italian, EU citizen, and permanent resident receive. The family members and dependents of an SSN contributor will also receive free or subsidised services at any state-funded hospital in Rome. Under the SSN, whether local or foreign national, women are also entitled to consult the Family Advice Bureau for contraception, pre and post-natal care, cancer screenings and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases as well as pregnancy terminations. 

How to be a Member of SSN 

EU nationals can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) while expats from non-EU member states must register with SSN immediately upon relocating to Rome. The registration begins by going to the Azienda Sanitaria Locale or ASL near the applicant’s area of residence. Currently, there are eight ASL offices in Rome and some of the documents that expats must bring during the application are: 

  • Identifications such as valid passport
  • codice fiscale or Tax Number
  • Residence Permit or proof that there is already an application for one
  • Proof of Address (rental contract)

After the registration, expats will receive a health card known as tesserino sanitario personale which must be renewed annually. Members will also be assigned to their General Practitioners or medico di base that they can change, if there’s availability. 

Doctors in Rome 

Minor ailments and regular check-ups are handled by GPs or Family Doctors in Rome who are entirely paid by the national health insurance scheme. There are also specialists either in the public or private hospitals and visits to them must have a referral by a GP. Going to a specialist in Rome requires co-pay which is at least USD 40 if there are no diagnostic tests required. Waiting times range from a few months in public medical facilities and several weeks in private hospitals. Expats who don’t want to be placed on a long queue can also opt for the ‘free market option’ which is paid entirely out of the pocket. 

Public and Private Hospitals 

Hospitalisation and surgeries in public hospitals are free for everyone regardless of the person’s income. Rome has an abundance of public hospitals and one of the best is the Rome American Hospital. However, doctors and medical personnel in this hospital are mostly Italians but expats can always ask for a translator. Almost every public hospital in Rome has an emergency room service called Pronto Soccorso. Hospitalisation, emergency service and surgeries are also free of charge in state-funded medical facilities regardless of the patient’s income. There are also several private hospitals in Rome and some are listed below: 

There are also several private health care facilities in the city for those who want to be comfortable while seeking medical attention. However, these hospitals are often pricey and are not covered by the SSN. Expats should get private health insurance to protect their finances from the hefty cost of services and treatments in Rome’s private hospitals such as: 

Via Portuense 700 00148 Rome, Italy

Tel. No.: 06 659759 

Via Aurelia 860 00165 Rome, Italy

Tel. No.: 06 66418607/ 06 66419050 

Piazza S Onofrio 4 00165 Rome, Italy

Tel. No.: 06 68591/ 06 68181 

Farmacia (Pharmacies) 

Pharmacies in this city are marked by a green or red cross outside of the establishment’s window. Most pharmacies operate from 9 am to 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm. A ricetta or prescription is required before you can purchase a prescription drug in Rome. If the medicine is prescribed by a family doctor, the price will be subsidised and will only require co-pay which depends on your income and the type of drug. Over the counter drugs, on the other hand, must be paid in full and upfront.



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Healthcare in Italy