Healthcare in Italy

Last updated: January 23, 2020

Healthcare is organised regionally by the National Health Service (SSN), this provides universal coverage which is usually free or subsidised. The standard of healthcare in Italy, however, similarly to most countries varies enormously. The different regions in the country is dependant on the quality of healthcare that you receive. Private healthcare is highly considered but can be very expensive without the correct insurance. Read more to hear about the different types of healthcare in Italy.

Health care in Italy

Public and Private Healthcare in Italy

SSN allows residents to access free or subsidised healthcare; however most Italians make use of public healthcare but those that can afford it try and get the best of both worlds.

Public Healthcare

Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) is the national health service in Italy. It also ranks among the World Health Organisation’s top 10 countries for quality health services.

The validity of the healthcare across the different regions due to being governed by individuals from their own cities. For example, public hospitals are known to offer higher standards of treatments in the northern and central regions than those in the south. Expats may therefore prefer to be treated in major cities such as Milan in cases of emergencies.

Private Healthcare

Although public healthcare in Italy is free, most expats still opt to use private healthcare services. The healthcare provided has a high reputation and supported with doctors that are well trained and on the same level as some of the finest in the world. There are many impressive specialist facilities in larger urban areas. As well as the university hospital being highly reputable.

Private procedures similarly to the UK vary in cost, and the Ministry of Health sets a minimum charge for all operations in this sector. As a result private healthcare can be very pricey making health insurance a necessity if it isn’t already provided by employers. The pros of private health care is it allows expats to avoid the queues and complications and also creates more comfort and choice when it comes down to doctors and facilities.


Health Insurance in Italy

Luckily the UK is an EU national so we are able to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This allows access to public healthcare services in Italy. However non-EU expats will need to register for the SSN. This usually involves going to the nearest local health authority and applying for the card. Documents required to register include:

  • expat’s residence permit
  • official identification
  • proof of employment

The emergency services number is 118; however English speaking operators may not be available. If expats don’t speak enough Italian to communicate in these emergency situations, you can call 112, an emergency number serving all of Europe.

What Next?

Italy attracts hundreds of expats each year with its beautiful climate and architecture. Thinking of moving there? Find out more about moving to Italy on our page.