The Italian National Health Service (SSN – Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) is public and tax-funded health system. It is regulated and overseen by the Ministry of Health, but is administered through Regional agencies. To access the Italian Health Service, you must hold a valid Tessera Sanitaria (Italian Health Insurance Card).
Short-term visitors from another EU country should bring their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) with them.
By compiling an S1 form, EU citizens who plan to stay for longer periods of time in Italy can transfer their home country's health coverage and be enrolled in the Italian National Health Service at no extra cost.
EU citizens and non-European nationals with a regular Residence Permit (Permesso di soggiorno) are entitled to the same kind of health coverage and welfare rights that pertain to Italian citizens.
In Milano, public health care is provided through Hospitals and the territorial Health Management Agency (ATS - Agenzia di Tutela della Salute), run by the Lombardy Region.
Public health care includes a network of primary care physicians and pediatricians and offers a vast gamut of medical services. At the time you enrol in the Public Health Service, you will be asked to select the name of a General Practitioner (Medico di base, or family doctor) to get free medical consultations, prescriptions and referrals. You can always change your family doctor by contacting one of the offices of ATS Milano again.
What is a Tessera Sanitaria?
What's the Tessera Sanitaria?
You will need a Tessera Sanitaria, Italy's health insurance card, to book a visit with a doctor, purchase a drug at the pharmacy, do blood tests and other kinds of medical diagnostics, undergo specialist examinations, or be admitted to a public hospital.
The registration with the National Health Service - SSN can be either 1) Mandatory or 2) Voluntary.
Non-EU citizens staying for work, family, international protection, pregnant women, fostering or adoption must register to the Italian National Health Service (SSN – Servizio Sanitario Nazionale). Dees are in proportion to their income and are taken from the taxes they pay in Italy, while the Italian State covers minors and the people that can't afford it.
Others (e.g. non-EU students) who are staying in Italy for more than 90 days may apply for voluntary (or “optional”) registration by paying a relatively small fee (when compared to the cost of private health insurance).
The Tessera Sanitaria is not required for private visits and examinations, including blood tests prescribed by a private doctor.
What to do in case of a medical emergency or if you have an accident
Call 112 for life-threatening emergencies.
In Italy, emergency medical assistance is provided to everyone, without upfront payment or insurance information needed. Uninsured persons, however, will be billed afterward by the Region. So it's better to be covered by SSN, the Italian National Health Service.
How to voluntarily enroll to the SSN
If you are domiciled in Milano but not entitled to SSN coverage (e.g. student, clergy, diplomat, au pair, volunteers, who do not pay contributions in Italy)
you can enrol voluntarily in the NHS (It covers Italian territory only)
1 – Get your Codice Fiscale first (Italian Tax Code)
2 – Pay a visit to the ATS office (Teritorial Health Service –find the closest ATS office here). This will save you a lot of time later. You should go there first to check if there are any specific requirements, the documents to provide, what is the exact fee to pay, and how to fill in the payment form at the Post Office.
3 – Go to a Post Office ( find the closest Post Office) to pay the annual fee (if the registration is voluntary). Keep the receipt, you will need to show it when applying for your Tessera Sanitaria (Italian Health Card).
4 – Present to your ATS closest to your domicile, all the documents required. An operator will complete your registration, and you will be entitled to select your general practitioner from a list of names and addresses close to your home. Tip: make aprevious survey among neighbors for reccommendations about doctos near you and prepare two or three names. Some doctors may be not available because they reached the maximum amount of patients assgned to them.
5 – The operator will release you a Tessera Sanitaria in paper (Italian Health Insurance Card) while a plastic one will be delivered at your home address by mail after a few weeks.
How to Access Specialty Visits and Medical Exams
Your family doctor will prescribe you the Specialty visits and/or the instrumental exams.
You don't need a prescription for booking
Gynecological visit (first visit)
Obstetric visit (first visit)
Dental examination (first visit) and emergency dentistry
Psychiatric visit (first visit);
Child Neuropsychiatric Visit (first visit);
Pediatric visit (first visit) (only if the choice of the pediatrician has not been made).
With your general practictioner prescription you can book visits or exams: online, via app (ios, Android ) by phone (call 800.638.638 - or 02.99.95.99 from mobile), in pharmacies, in person at the booking counters (CPU) at facilities/hospitals.
You will need:
- your Tessera Sanitaria,
- the Codice Fiscale,
- the Prescritption.
In most cases you will be required to pay a relatively low contribution to the expenses (the so called 'Ticket') while booking or on the day of your appointment.
You can also choose to use a private service to be paid in full.
Many private health structures operate a part of their services in agreement with the Public Service.
How to Access Specialty Visits and Medical Exams
Your family doctor will give you prescriptions for visits by medical specialists and/or diagnostic examinations.
With a medical prescription you can book visits and exams in person at dedicated booking counters (Centri Prenotazione Unica - CPU) in Hospitals and ATS offices.
Pharmacies also should provide this service.
If you have SPID, online on the Regione Lombardia Prenotasalute website via iOS and Android app SALUTILE Prenotazioni and by phone at the Call Centre (call 800.638.638 from a fixed line, or 02.99.95.99 from mobile); or
You will need:
your Tessera Sanitaria,
your Codice Fiscale,
your Prescription (Ricetta).
In most cases, you will be required to pay a small contribution to total expenses (the so-called 'Ticket'), to be paid when you book a visit or the day of the medical appointment.
In Lombardy, many private health facilities operate services in agreement with the National Health Service and you can get visits and treatments there which are covered by the public health system.
Alternatively, you can choose to go directly to a private health care facility or medical professional, but you will be billed at market prices.
Can I Buy Medicines on my Own?
It depends. Over-the-Counter drugs can be bought both in Pharmacies or Parapharmacies. A certified pharmacist is always there to give you advice.
Prescription drugs are sold in Pharmacies, but you'll need a doctor's prescription. In every district of the city, there is a least one pharmacy that does the night shift, and there are a few pharmacies that are open 24 hours (e.g. near Loreto, Cadorna, De Angeli e and Zara metro stations).
Class-A life-saving drugs are covered by the National Health Service except a small upfront contribution called 'ticket'.
You will need:
your Tessera Sanitaria, with Codice Fiscale.
your Ricetta Medica (prescription sheet or e-prescription code number)
By presenting your Codice Fiscale while paying for your medicines, you will be registered electronically and accounted for a deduction in your tax income statement - if applicable.
(For locations and opening hours of pharmacies, call infoline 800.801.185)
For all health issues call your general practictioner/family doctor, or the paediatrician assigned to your child.
When your family doctor is off (e.g. non-working days, and at nights) and you have a non-delayable necessity, a Continuity Service is ensured: call 116117