Overview of Italian Healthcare
As far as healthcare is concerned, Italy ranks among the World Health Organization’s top 10 countries for quality health services.
The latest available statistics put the number of doctors in Italy at 3.8 per 1,000 people, which is among the highest rates in the world. Life expectancy is relatively high, at 79.4 years for men and 84.8 years for women.
The World Health Organization ranks Italy’s healthcare system as the second-best in the world. While some public hospitals are overcrowded and underfunded, this is not always the case everywhere. Mid-size cities have good facilities and shorter lines. Every town has a doctor available and a guardia medica on duty for weekend and holiday emergencies. Of course, you don’t have to rely solely on public health facilities. Like many Italians, you can avail of the parallel private medical service that caters to patients covered by private medical insurance or out-of-pocket payment.
There are private doctors and medical facilities around the country. You’ll find a variety of options in every provincial city.
Persons not enrolled under the National Health Plan take out private medical insurance. If you’re relocating to Italy, you’re not going to be able to join the National Health Plan on the day you arrive. If you’re unlucky enough to need hospital treatment, you will be expected to pay full hospital charges and claim a reimbursement later from your private insurance provider. Don’t forget that you will not be able to obtain your residence permit without proof of health insurance.
It is also worth noting that hospitals do not generally accept payment by credit cards, though most will agree to bill patients after discharge. There are also numerous private clinics offering a wide range of medical services, but charges are generally higher than those applied by public hospitals.
The National Health Plan
Italy’s national health plan (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale), provides for hospital and medical benefits. In Italy, healthcare is considered a right and the national health plan is designed to provide for all Italian citizens and residents.
The plan is obligatory for those with the following types of stay permit (permesso di soggiorno):
• Subordinate work.
• Self-employment (autonomous work).
• Family reasons.
• Humanitarian reasons or political asylum.
Voluntary enrolment applies to the following:
• Managers of a company with the headquarters in Italy.
• Workers of a company with the headquarters abroad.
• Holders of stay permits valid for more than three months (such as business, artists, and the like).
• Journalists subject to Italian income tax.
When submitting an application to the local health authority in your district (Unità Sanitaria Locale [USL] or Azienda Sanità Locale [ASL], you must also provide your codice fiscale, your permesso di soggiorno, proof of ID (passport or carta d’identità), and a certificate of residence (certificato di residenza) issued by the local municipality (comune). Registration for the SSN is free.
To obtain a certificato di residenza, you must produce the appropriate visa issued by an Italian consulate abroad, your stay permit (permesso di soggiorno) from the local police station, and your registry of self and any dependents with the office of Vital Statistics (Ufficio Anagrafe) at the local town hall (comune).
If your application is accepted, you will be issued a medical registration card (tessera sanitaria). Your doctor may ask to see your tessera when filling out a prescription, and you will have to show it when you make an appointment to see a specialist or sign up for other services through the National Health Plan. You will also be asked to choose a family physician (medico di base) from a list of participating doctors. Those covered by the plan will be entitled to medical care by the selected physician. He/she will write prescriptions and request laboratory tests, X-rays, and any further consultations with specialists.
Services provided include:
• Hospital care (room and board, medical care, surgery, lab tests, and medication during hospitalization) in public hospitals or authorized clinics.
• Treatment by general practitioners, pediatricians for children up to 14 years old, and obstetricians listed in the health convention.
• Treatment by other specialists as deemed necessary.
• Annual preventive care exams, such as mammograms, pap tests, and prostate exams, are included free.
• Medication prescribed by authorized physicians, within certain limitations. A “ticket fee” (a fixed charge for the cost of prescription drugs, set by the government) must be paid on certain drugs as a contribution to the medication plan. For insulin, some painkillers (although not aspirin), antibiotics, cortisones, ulcer treatments, and eye drops, the copay cost is 10%. For hormone treatments, antacids, and some anti-inflammatory drugs, the fee is 50%. Senior citizens with an annual income of less than €37,000, children under the age of 6, and those suffering from long-term chronic diseases pay a maximum of €4. In some cases, medicines may actually cost less than the official ticket price, in which case you can save money by buying them without a prescription.
• A contribution (ticket) is payable for lab tests and X-rays, provided they are performed in public hospitals or authorized outside medical facilities.
• Partial refunds are available for spectacles, orthopedic prosthesis, and phonetic and acoustic appliances such as hearing aids
Common FAQ’s About Healthcare in Italy:
Is healthcare in Italy good?
Italy consistently ranks among the World Health Organization’s top 10 countries for quality health services. Italy has a very high rate of doctors pep population currently standing at 3.8 doctors per 1,000 people.
Is health care free in Italy?
In Italy, healthcare is considered a right and the national health plan (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) is designed to provide free healthcare for all Italian citizens and residents.
Where does Italy rank in healthcare?
The WHO (World Healthcare Organization) ranked Italy as the 2nd best country in the world in terms of overall healthcare in 2020.
How is healthcare financed in Italy?
Italy’s comprehensive healthcare system is free of charge at the point of delivery. The system is financied through federal and regional general taxation such as income tax.
Italian immigration application requirements:
1. Non-criminal record.
2. No complete annual residence history in Italy in the past 10 years
3. Need to donate 100,000 euros to the Italian government for five consecutive years, add one more applicant and increase 25,000 euros
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