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HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Health Insurance in Italy
Discover how the system works in Italy
Since 1978, the Italian local healthcare system has been administered by the National Health Service which provides universal health coverage via the implementation of the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale(SSN). Every resident in Italy can register free of charge with the SSN. Since 1998, the entire SSN system is funded by the regions through a regional tax. Therefore each region is responsible for maintaining its own financial balance.

The SSN only covers routine care: general medicine, pediatrics, dental care, gynecology, hospitalization, etc. Patients do not have to pay for their consultation as the doctor is paid directly by the region. 
In general, the Italian healthcare system provides quality medical care.
Visiting a doctor in Italy
As part of the universal health coverage, referring GPs (medico di famiglia) see their patients in local health units (USL). They are all State-registered but are either civil servants or have their private practice. Insured members are free to choose their own referring GP. 
Consultations with State-registered doctors in local health units are free. 
As the public healthcare system provides free care, it is often overcrowded and there may be long waiting times whereas in the private system, waiting times are shorter but doctors’ fees are much higher.
If you are not registered with the SSN and consult a doctor from the private system, you will have to pay between €50 and €80 for a consultation with a GP.
In Italy, few doctors speak English but some medical facilities intended for tourists provide English-speaking medical staff. 

You can only see specialist doctors after being referred by the GP. Fees range from 13 to 36 euros on average for consultations in local health units (USL) by State-registered specialists. 
As for the private sector, consultation fees vary from €100 to €200. 
Being admitted to hospital in Italy
Italian public hospitals
Hospitalization is free in registered facilities. For more comprehensive examinations, you will have to pay a copayment of around €36.

Italian private hospitals
Medical care and treatments provided in private hospitals are not better than those offered in public hospitals but waiting times are shorter. Hospitalization expenses will be supported by patients and their costs may vary significantly from one hospital to another.
To be admitted to these private hospitals, it is recommended to have health insurance coverage with a private insurer.

In case of emergency, dial 118 ; emergency services are open 24 hours a day and are free in public hospitals. 
Buying medication in Italy
If you are registered with the SSN system, you will only have to pay a part of the prescribed drugs. This out-of-pocket amount (expressed as a percentage of the drug price) is calculated according to the category of drugs you have been prescribed. 
10% for group A: antibiotics, cortisone, painkillers (other than aspirin), etc.
50% for group B: certain anti-inflammatories, hormone treatments, etc.
100% for group C: cough syrup, aspirin, cough lozenges, vitamins, etc.
Get your health insurance for Italy
MSH can help you design the best international health insurance plan to suit your needs.

Going for less than a year?
We have the right health insurance plan to cover you for 1 to 12 months, whether it's for a personal project, an apprenticeship, a working holiday or any other reason.

Going for a year or more?
Explore our comprehensive and highly flexible health insurance solutions to protect you and your family while you're abroad.
QUICK FACTS
OFFICIAL NAME
Italian Republic
MAIN CITIES
Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples, Palermo
CAPITAL
Rome
GOVERNMENT
Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
COMMON LANGUAGE(S)
100%
Italian
FIND OUT MORE
Italia on Wikipedia
CLIENT STORIES
Client story: they were there for my baby

Laure and Robert moved to Singapore in 2014 for work - but they ended up starting a family there too! She told MSH that she was pregnant and was amazed by all the support she got. First she received a practical guide on pregnancy (what to do at each stage, medical exams etc.) and then a member of the team called her to explain all her guarantees personally and advise her on the best place to give birth. The day her daughter was born, a gift pack arrived with a growth chart and a baby toy, with all good wishes from MSH. And now there's another one on the way...
Client story: MSH was a lifesaver

Matthieu was hiking in a canyon in Peru when he accidently fell down several meters and fractured his kneecap and elbow: "After 12 days in a local hospital, I was sent back to  France where I spent 2 more weeks in hospital and months in physiotherapy" he remembers. Matthieu's hospitalization, repatriation and rehabilitation expenses were all covered by MSH: "Without my private health insurance, it would have been a nightmare: €16,000 for the hospital and €50,000 for my repatriation with two air ambulances - can you imagine?"
Client story: No worries mate!

Tanguy subscribed to Start’Expat to cover his gap year in Australia. He was out roller-skating one day when he slipped and blacked out for a few minutes. A passerby directed him to the nearest hospital for a scan. Fortunately, there was nothing serious and he was delighted to learn that all the expenses from €400 would be paid by MSH in advance, saving him a total of €513 -that's a lot of money for a student!   
DISCOVER THEIR STORIES
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