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Paying for health care

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equitraveler
10/20/2017 10:22 EST

My husband and I live in Piemonte 5 1/2 months a year traveling on tourist visas and our US health insurance covers us when we are outside the country. We do not have a permesso soggiorno. I recently had a health emergency that resulted in a visit to our local pronto soccorso, followed by an ambulance ride to a bigger hospital in a bigger town and 4 nights in the hospital. My purpose here is not to discuss the facilities or medical care, but to talk about the adventures of paying. The folks in the Accettazione, the payment office, kept asking for my Permesso and finally lacking that my passport, drivers license and insurance card. So far so good, but then came paying. There is no way under any circumstances to pay with a credit card. Luckily, we have a bank account here and they agreed to bank transfer. The bill was 3500 euro for care that would have cost 35K$ in the US. How have others paid for emergency and hospital care here?

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cc4all
10/20/2017 10:59 EST

My husband had a health emergency 3 years ago. We are not residents but are simply frequent visitors to the country and own a house in Abruzzo. When admitted to hospital, which ended up being a 4 day stay. we gave them his US license and our US insurance card along with our codice fiscale and also filled out a form with the address of our house in Abruzzo and our italian phone number.
They came back a day or two later and asked for a fax number for the insurance company (email and phone was on the card we gave them). I called our insurance company and the associate laughed and said they could send a fax but he didn't know how long it would take to get a reply as no one faxes anymore! We gave them the fax number anyway but recommended they email instead and they told us that the email did not work because it was too long!!
They never came back to us again so we assumed they got what they needed. My husband was released and we were sent home with a prescription for the pharmacy. When we went for the prescription at our local pharmacy we were told there was no charge since it was a hospital prescription. My husband had to return to the hospital a week later for follow up blood tests. Again no one asked us for anything or requested we visit the payment office. We received no bill for services at any time and simply assumed our insurance company had taken care of everything. When we returned home we called to check on the claim and they had never received anything from the hospital.
I doubt my story gives you any real answer to your question but it is the only experience we have had thus far...and I don't believe it to be anything close to a "normal" experience.

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milano17
11/9/2017 10:44 EST

We did the same as you, from an Italian bank account for somethings but was also able to pay with a credit card.

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