Health insurance in Italy

health insurance
Updated 2020-06-16 12:07

Once you have moved to Italy, you will probably need healthcare one day or another. Therefore, it's essential to know how the national health system works, what are your rights and what formalities need to be completed. The good news is that healthcare is one of the government's priorities.

Public and private healthcare in Italy

The national health service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, or SSN) is accessible to everyone, and part of it is free of charge. It is organised at the regional level and provides coverage almost entirely in cases of illness, accident and a range of health issues. You can also subscribe to a private health insurance to be able to claim refunds for treatments that are not covered by the SSN.

The Servizio Sanitaro Nazionale

The SSN works for all persons who are residing legally in the country, that is residents. Basic care covered by the SSN includes general medicine, pediatric care and those related to maternity, hospitalisation and prescription of medicines. For example, during a general consultation, you don't have to pay anything if you are registered with the health service and have designated your physician.

Regarding other services, such as dental care, eye care, laboratory exams, x-rays, orthopaedics, specialist consultation, only part of it is covered by the SSN. Therefore, you will have to settle the difference and request refund from your expat health insurance if you have one.

 Good to know :

The price of various services and fees, as well as the "tickets" may vary from one region to another, so make sure to gather all necessary information from the relevant authorities in your city.

Private health insurance in Italy

Health insurance companies, called Assistenza Sanitaria, provide additional coverage to health services that the SSN does not take care of. They generally work in two ways:

  • either you book a treatment, health check, appointment with a specialist via the insurance website, which will then be responsible for transmitting the information so that you do not have to pay the whole amount of part of it
  • or you request for a refund from your insurance after treatment by producing the necessary supporting documents.

 Good to know :

Some companies provide health insurance to their employees. If you are working, chances are you already have health insurance, so you won't have to look for one. However, a monthly contribution of 3 - 4 euros will be deducted from your salary.

Some of the most popular health insurance companies in Italy are Fondo Est, Unisalute, Allianz, Unipolsai and Sara.

Steps to gain access to the SSN

To be eligible for the SSN, you will need to apply for your Tessera Sanitaria. After becoming a resident in Italy, you will have to call at the nearest ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) with the following documents:

  • your tax residence certificate
  • your Codice Fiscale (tax code)
  • a copy and original of your identity card or passport


When filing your tax return (usually between May and June), you will be able to mention all the care, health checks and various treatments that you have had to pay for during the year so as to request for a refund in case they were not covered by the SSN or your private health insurance.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.