Accessing healthcare in Italy

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Accessing healthcare in Italy

If you move to Italy, you will be treated on the same basis as an Italian national. Remember, each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This may mean that you have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care. You may be able to seek reimbursement for this cost when you are back in the UK.

It is important that you ensure you are treated by a state healthcare provider as you will not be covered for private healthcare. You should be particularly careful if the healthcare arrangements have been made by a hotel or travel representative.

If you're receiving a UK state pension (you will need to apply for an S1), or if you are in receipt of long-term incapacity benefit (you will need to apply for an S2), you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. Once you have received your S1 or S2, you will need to present this to the Italian health authorities.

However, if you move to Italy to live but not work and do not receive a UK benefit, you may be eligible for up to two-and-a-half years of state healthcare cover, paid for by the UK. In this case, you will need to apply for an S1.

In both cases, you will need to contact your local 'Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale' (ASL) office. Additionally, you might be asked to provide a copy of the original E121/ E106 and a proof of identity.

Registering with the Italian National Health Service:
In order to register as a patient with the Italian National Health Service you should go to your nearest Local Health Authority offices. You can find the address in the Yellow Pages, listed under 'ASL'.

When you go to the Local Health Authority to register, you should take the following documents with you:

  • residence permit
  • passport, or another identity card
  • details of your family, if you also want to register them for medical care
  • tax identification number
  • a letter from your employer certifying that you work for them and a document from the Italian INPS (National Institution for Social Protection) which certifies that you are employed, or officially unemployed, or a document confirming you are studying in Italy


Once you are registered with the National Health System you can choose your own GP and get a medical card.


How to get your medical card

All Italian citizens or foreign people who are registered patients of the National Health System are entitled to have a medical card. You can get this at your nearest Local Health Authority, where you can also register as a patient of the National Health Service. The card carries important information, such as your GP's name, and details your status if you belong to one of the 'protected groups', which are for disabled people, people with chronic or rare diseases and people with a low-income. Patients in a protected group are not required to pay for their treatment or medicines.

Currently, a new card, which looks like a credit card, is being distributed by mail to all citizens and patients of the National Health Service by the Department of Economy and Finances. This card is valid for the whole of Italy and for the rest of the European Union as well and entitles you to access the National Health System for medicines, examinations and treatments prescribed by your GP.

To get more information about the medical card, you can call the free number 800.030.070. People who need medical care but do not have a valid residence permit can still receive assistance, and will be given a special medical card.

For more information visit: NHS: Getting healthcare abroad – Italy

Author

A Place In The Sun