The good news is that UK retirees report that Italian healthcare is excellent, with the state and public sectors working closely with each other. Italians are relatively advanced in medicine, technology and treatments and doctors do not seem in short supply. The younger ones and specialists can usually speak English.
One retiree reports from their rural home: “You do not make an appointment to see your own doctor you just turn up any day take a number and wait, sometimes just a few minutes, and if you need to see a specialist it is arranged quickly.
So what do you need to do when you arrive in Italy and plan staying for more than three months? If you’re an EU member, you need to register with the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale: SSN) through your local ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale).
You will need a residency document, a codice fiscale (tax code) and an identity card. If you are a non-EU citizen you will need to take out private medical insurance until you are eligible for permanent residency (after five years).
You can register for free with the SSN under certain conditions, such as that you have been resident in Italy for five years, you have an immediate family member who is Italian, or who has a work contract, or if you are a pensioner who has an S1 form.
You need to apply for an S1 form – contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ International Pensions Centre. When you get it, register it with the local ASL office before you register with your local GP surgery and get a medical card.
If you are eligible for Italian healthcare, the amount you may have to pay depends upon your income. Most people have to pay a fixed €10 base fee for prescrizioni (prescription) plus a contribution to see a specialist or to have a blood test, eye test etc.
These are normally capped together with any in hospital charges. if you have medical conditions such as diabetes or a heart issue, you may well be exempt from any charges for tests related to these conditions.
If you are not eligible for joining the Italian healthcare then there is a payment system which is based on your location in Italy. Charges for prescriptions issued by the doctor for drugs vary, some are without charge, others you have to make a contribution and some may have to pay the full-rate. If you are eligible for a state pension in the UK there is a document to complete which means the UK will pay for your healthcare in Italy if you are not allowed to join the SSN.
Need a dentist? Like in the UK, there are state or private options, and the costs are about the same in the UK but ‘miles ahead with treatments and technology’
You can find out more about retiring to Italy from the UK here.