If you wish, you can register with a specific healthcare protection from your country of origin when provided), but you will still pay and benefit from the local system.
You can find information (benefit packages and prices) on the web.
European Card for Sickness InsuranceIn case of medical care need when abroad in Europe, it allows European members to get refund for their medical expenses, according to the legal arrangement in the visited country.
It replaces the E111 form and other European forms (E110, E119, E128) used for short term visits in European countries. It is an individual card with your name, and each family member should have one (including children under 16). It is valid 1 year and free.
The card is not given automatically: you will need to ask your social security centre a few weeks before the departure.
Italy, like most EU countries, has a comprehensive but overextended public health system. If you get national medical insurance, you will be asked to select a doctor from a posted list, who will have to prescribe medications and visits to specialists if you are to get them subsidized by the USSL (Unità Socio Sanitaria Locale).
If you are working in Italy, your employer will contribute to the national health insurance system for you. All you need to do is go to your nearest local health authority (Azienda Sanità Locale or ASL) and register with a doctor with the health convention (detailed info available in our Archives). Once you are registered, you will receive a health number and health card (tessera sanitaria) and all visits to your family doctor will be free. He or she will issue you with any necessary prescriptions and referrals to specialists.
The Italy's National Health System (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale or SSN) provides medical and specialist treatment, hospitalization, visits to family doctors and prescribed medicines. All medicines are divided into three categories: free of charge, charged at 50% of cost and charged at full cost. The standard prescription charge is less than 10 euros.
Emergency health provision is available to all EU and non-EU visitors (you can go to the emergency section of a hospital free of charge). However, regardless of where you come from, you must have some form of health insurance as soon as you arrive in Italy (a permesso di soggiorno will not be issued without it).
As other countries in Europe, Italy is facing difficulties in its national health budget and measures in controlling overspending might include the reintroduction of a copayment system for covering drug costs and a drop in the number of medicines that are free of charge.
Dental fees can be astronomical. The quality of service is generally good. In Italy, a doctor can practice dentistry, though the situation is changing towards greater specialization as universities started setting up dental faculties in 1980. Consulates or friends may be the best source of a good dentist (also one who speaks English, if you so require). When paying for dental services, remember to insist on an invoice, as dental expenses (like medical expenses) are tax-deductible within certain limits.