We have tried to include all the relevant information concerning travel to Italy and your stay in Italy; however the information provided is not fully detailed on all points and should be viewed as a guide not as a verbatim statement of the law.
Health care in Italy
Citizen of the European Union
If you are a citizen of the European Union and you have a compulsory health insurance, in case you fall ill or are hurt in an accident during your stay in Italy, you can get refund for the needed medical expenses. Therefore you need to present the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to the Italian doctor or in the Italian hospital before you receive treatment. This card replaces the E111 form and other EU forms (E110, E119, etc). The reimbursement will take place as if you were insured in Italy.
The card is available at your health insurance board. It is an individual card so each member of your family should have one. It is for free but it is not emitted automatically, so remember to request it at your social security centre a few weeks before leaving. If you already posses the EHIC, please check its validity.
You can obtain the medically necessary health care directly from the public and private structures in convention with the National Health Service (SSN - Servizio Sanitario Nazionale): this consists of a network of local Health Units (ASL - Aziende Sanitarie Locali) and hospitals located throughout the country.
When presenting your card to the doctor, you should not have to pay for the treatment, except for a possible “ticket” (participation costs), that you have to pay for yourself. However if for any reason you cannot use your EHIC, you will have to advance the expenses entirely. Remind to collect all the receipts which will allow you to ask for the reimbursement later in your own country.
If you have a chronic condition and are likely to need treatment abroad, you should contact your usual health provider for information about appropriate medical centres for your stay in Italy and about any associated costs.
However, it may be useful to pay for additional travel insurance to cover additional costs such as repatriation.
Third countries (non-EU countries)
If you are from a country outside the EU, EFTA or Switzerland, and your home country has no special agreement with Italy in regard to social insurance, you are not protected by the compulsory health insurance in Italy. Since you will have to pay the costs for the medical treatment yourself, we recommend you to take out private health insurance cover to meet any medical or repatriation costs.
Pharmacy and medical care
There is a large network of pharmacies in towns and cities, and although the opening hours are generally like those of other shops (9am-12am and 3pm-7pm), there is always an emergency pharmacy open at night, on Sundays and during the holidays. The address of the nearest emergency pharmacy is usually written on the door of the closed ones; otherwise ask at the police station or call the medical emergency number 118.
To obtain certain types of medicines, a prescription provided by a doctor is needed. Other medicines are freely sold and can be supplied to you over the counter. The pharmacist will be able to give you any further information.
From Monday to Friday services from general practitioners in convention with the National Health Service (family doctors and paediatrists) is provided free of fees and ticket; opening hours are fixed by doctors. On Saturday, Sunday and during the night (from 8 pm to 8 am) there is a night doctor service (Servizio di Guardia medica notturna - you have to contact the local Health Unit in order to find its contact details). In summer, in touristic areas, there is a tourism medical service (Guardia medica turistica) where you have to pay for the doctor’s visit (but with the receipt your insurance is allowed to ask for reimbursement).
For more detailed information about the National Health Service visit the homepage of the Italian Ministry for Health:
Medical emergencies: 118 Police emergencies (Carabinieri): 112
European emergency line: 112 Police emergencies: 113
Fire Service emergencies: 115 Fiscal police (Guardia di Finanza): 117
For further information, the European Consumer Centres (ECCs) will be pleased to help you. You can find further information and a complete list of all ECCs under: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/redress_cons/index_en.htm