Healthcare in Italy

If you will be moving to Italy or are planning to spend significant amounts of time there, it is helpful to understand what your entitlements to healthcare in Italy will be.

We have provided some information which we hope will assist you.

If I become ill when I am living in Italy, will I have to pay for healthcare in Italy?

The Italian public Health Service is called the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), which provides state funded hospital and local health centre services.

EU Citizens

Under EU legislation, citizens of EU countries are entitled to state funded medical treatment in Italy on the same terms as Italian nationals.

If you are an EU citizen, you will therefore be able to access most healthcare services for free although you may find that you do have to pay for some services.

The country responsible for paying for your healthcare in Italy will depend on your specific circumstances, for example:

  • Whether you are currently working or have ever worked in Italy and have paid national contributions.
  • Whether you are a family member of someone who has worked in Italy and paid national contributions.
  • Whether you are in receipt of a state pension.

Non EU Citizens

If you are a non-EU citizen, you may have to pay fees for healthcare in Italy.

Non-EU citizens in Italy need to formally register with the SSN. Those with residency in Italy can apply for an Italian health insurance card in order to take advantage of the free public healthcare system in Italy. This can be done at a local health authority (Azienda Sanità Locale/ASL). They will require various documents which usually includes your passport, residence permit and proof of employment, amongst others.

If you will not be a resident in Italy you should ensure you have healthcare cover under a private healthcare insurance policy.

In what circumstances would Italy cover my healthcare?

Italy will provide you with healthcare cover if:

  • You work and pay social security contributions in Italy.
  • If you are in receipt of a state pension from an EU country.
  • If you are registered as a resident in Italy.

In these circumstances you will be entitled to Italian state run healthcare on the same basis as an Italian national.

Do you need to pay for medical prescriptions in Italy?

Those who are registered with the SSN are entitled to free or subsidised medicines.

Prescriptions in Italy have a “ticket cost” and you may be entitled to a percentage reduction in the ticket costs depending on the type of medicine it is and your circumstances. Some medicines cost less than the ticket price, in which case it may be cheaper to buy them over the counter without a prescription.

Many medical expenses in Italy can be totally or partially deducted for tax purposes, including the cost of spectacles, hearing aids and visits to medical specialists, so you should retain all medical receipts.

I don’t have an entitlement to state run Healthcare in Italy, what should I do?

Italy has a good system of Private Medical care. If you are not entitled to the public state funded healthcare in Italy you should take out private health insurance, otherwise you will have to pay for medical treatment in Italy.

For further information about buying property and moving to Italy, call us on 01244 478 911, email us at or download our Total Buying Abroad Guide to Italy here.