Healthcare in Italy



Carrying the same passion for all the good things in life, Italians are intensely fixated on excellent health care. This stunningly beautiful European destination prides itself on delivering well-established welfare measures and health policies to it 59.7 million inhabitants.

EU citizens visiting Italy can take advantage of the reciprocal health care agreements. Three weeks before your arrival in Italy, you should apply for form E111, known as the certificate of entitlement to treatment. You should provide documents from your home country to validate that you have been making contributions for coverage with your local health care system. Non-EU nationals, on the other hand, must acquire private insurance coverage. Eight days after arrival, you need to pay a visit to the local police station, armed with a valid health policy to show. Health insurance is mandatory from the moment foreign nationals arrive in Italy and those that don’t have one will not be issued with a permit to stay or permesso di soggiorno.

Public Healthcare Coverage

Italy’s regionally based National Health Service is known as Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) which provides universal health coverage to all Italian national, European citizens and employed expatriates. If you're staying in Italy for work, the employer is obliged to pay for health insurance. Expats need to go to the nearest local health authority, the Azienda SanitELocale (ASL), and then register with a doctor to obtain a health number and health card.

Italy's health care system was established to provide universal health care, wherein patients are covered for tests, medications, surgeries during hospitalisation, family doctor visits and medical assistance that is provided by paediatricians and other specialists. Furthermore, the health system provides free medicines, outpatient treatments and dental treatments. Other expats that are legally resident in Italy can also apply to be part of the health plan, so long as eligibility requirements are met (nationality and work permit). However, most opt to get private health insurance coverage, so they can freely choose a doctor or specialist and so that treatment can be given in private hospitals. This also cuts down the waiting times to get an appointment with a medical specialist.

Doctors and Pharmacies

Doctors in Italy are known as medici generici. They are your first point of contact in case of any health or medical needs while staying in this country. Those who will visit a doctor in state-funded hospitals shouldn’t worry about any fees since the cost of a visit is most likely covered by the SSN. Some doctors in Italy practice in groups called as poliambulatori. These groups offer a wider range of services such as dermatology, cardiology, optical and dental care, physiotherapy, sports medicine, orthopaedic treatment as well as surgery and urology.

Pharmacies are mostly family-run in Italy and are regulated by law. Pharmacies follow a "rota" system designed to ensure that there are a significant number of pharmacies open during the evening, on Sundays and public holidays. If a pharmacy is already closed, it must display a notice that informs customers of the opening hours, an emergency telephone number, and where to go for emergency services.

Hospitals in Italy

Italy has an abundance of hospitals (ospedale) and clinics (clinica) that are scattered in almost every town and major cities. Expats can identify a hospital with its white ‘H’ logo on a blue background. Though Italy has an excellent overall quality of healthcare system, one should still expect that there is a discrepancy between the private and public medical facilities. Private hospitals are good, even better than US or other European hospitals. But, there are still substandard public hospitals in Italy, mostly those in the southern part of the country. Some of the most prominent hospitals in Italy that are manned with English-speaking staff are:

Via Emilio Longoni, 69, Roma

Tel: +39 06 22551

Piazza Santa Maria Nuova, 1 Florence

Tel: +39 055 69381

Via Angelo Mauri, 3 Milan

Tel: +39 02 4399 0401

Via Antonio Cardarelli, 9 Naples

Tel: +39 081 747 1111


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