Italy is one of the countries having a high life expectancy on average. According to the latest research done in 2021, Italy has sixth place worldwide with an average life expectancy of 84 for both sexes. As a Mediterranean country, Italy has a high standard of livings that dramatically increases life quality. However, this high number is also provided by the well-established care system.
In Italy, the healthcare system is not free of charge but is easily affordable. Unlike the many other European countries, the healthcare system in Italy is subdivided into public and private care. According to Italian laws, every person in Italy has a fundamental right to have healthcare service, regardless of nationality.
The public healthcare system is organized regionally and considered as the national health service, in other words, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN). This organization is under the control of the Italian Ministry of Health.
In public healthcare, Italian citizens and international individuals living in Italy can comprehensively benefit from medical services for mostly costless. There can be small payments for treatments consisting of medical tests, surgeries, and hospital stay but daily patient treatment, most medication as well as dental treatments are covered by the public healthcare system. Significantly, the quality of the care system and the co-pay may show differences between regions and patient’s status.
In order to use the public healthcare system in Italy, Italian Health Insurance Card (Tessera Sanitaria) is essential to obtain, or any equal insurance from Eu countries called EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) is accepted. International students with a Permit of Stay(Permesso di Soggiorno can apply for Tessera Sanitaria to have the same rights as any Italian citizen.
The private healthcare system in Italy offers more flexibility and privilege, but its cost is also so much expensive than public healthcare like in other countries. Some advantages the private healthcare can provide are :
- Choosing doctor
- Choosing private hospital
- Avoiding long-queues for appointment
Although private hospitals offer more comfortable and quality service, the general quality of care doesn’t significantly differ from public hospitals. Private hospitals in Italy can be very costly without private health insurance, depending on the patient’s status. However, fees for medical services in Italy are more reasonable than the other countries with similar living costs.
Italian private hospitals usually have arrangements with Servizio Sanitario Nazionale. This hospitals are in a differrent catogery called Privato Convenzionato. Under specific conditions, individuals with Tessera Sanitaria can access private hospitals.
Although, each region is in charge of taking care or managing its own health care system. Therefore, you should expect differences in medical attention in different parts of the country.
Pharmacies and Medication
Italian pharmacies are generally excellent and family-run businesses. Unlike many other countries, groceries don’t sell medications. Medications are needed to be taken from pharmacies. In some cases, Italian pharmacists are very knowledgeable to consult. For non-Italian speakers, it is not a problem to find pharmacists speaking English in Italy.
Individuals with public health cover don’t pay the total price of medications. The insurance reduces the cost.
Emergency Situations and Significant Phone Numbers
In the situation of an emergency in Italy, 118 is the number to call. However, the biggest struggle may be to find an operator speaking English. Therefore, 112 is the EU emergency number for non-Italian speakers.
Italy provides reliable emergency services, but especially international people should know that the arrival of an ambulance may be delayed in rural areas. Also, it can be helpful for non-Italian citizens to have the number of their embassy in case of emergency.