Health insurance and medical care

Living in Europe | Health insurance, Medical care | Italy

The Italian National Health Service – SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) is organised autonomously on a regional basis and includes public and private clinics and specialists. Registration is managed by Local Health Centre (Azienda Sanitaria Locale-ASL) and includes:

  • free consultations and pharmacy prescription with general practitioners or paediatricians of the SSN;
  • Emergency service, available at all main hospitals
  • medical examinations with specialists upon medical examination request (impegnativa) issued by GPs or paediatricians). A fee (ticket) will be charged;
  • free hospitalisation and access to day hospitals in specialised medical structures (dermatology, ophthalmology, etc.);
  • Duty Doctor Service (Guardia medica), a basic medical assistance available at night (8 pm -8 am) or during bank holidays and days before bank holidays.

Please note that hospitalisation always requires a specific request from a specialised medical doctor or from a specialised medical structure.

For emergency (i.e. ambulance) the number to call is 112

For short stay (less than 90 days) you are entitled to free access to emergencies and medical treatments by showing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) . The EHIC is issued by the Health authority in your country of residence and must be valid.

Researchers are entitled to register with the National Health Service – SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale)
  • for free only when the work contract includes the payment of IRPEF (Personal Income Tax), i.e. lavoro subordinato;
  • by paying an annual amount based on your yearly income (around 7,5%) when the work contract does not include the payment of IRPEF (Personal Income Tax), i.e assegno di ricerca. The voluntary registration expires on December 31st of each year.

As an alternative researchers may use their valid European Health Insurance Card (only when they do not move the permanent residency to Italy) or underwrite a private health insurance policy.


For short stay (less than 90 days) researchers must hold a valid health insurance which protects them in case of sickness, accident hospitalisation and pregnancy to cover the entire stay. It could be underwritten before leaving to Italy (an endorsement by an Italian embassy or consulate is required) or once in Italy.

Researchers are entitled to register with the National Health Service – SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale)

  • for free only when the work contract includes the payment of IRPEF (Personal Income Tax), i.e. lavoro subordinato;
  • by paying an annual amount based on your yearly income (around 7,5%) when the work contract does not include the payment of IRPEF (Personal Income Tax), i.e assegno di ricerca. The voluntary registration expires on December 31st of each year.

Otherwise it is possible to underwrite a private health insurance policy. Please contact in advance the host organisation for detailed information.
Family members, holding a family permit of stay, are entitled to register with SSN for free.

Several Non EU countries have signed bilateral agreements or conventions with Italy. It is possible to get the specific form for the extension of the coverage from the country of origin to Italy BEFORE leaving for short stay. Once in Italy, this paper must be submitted to ASL which will issue a confirmation of health coverage in Italy.