Italy's Chianti Region South of Florence
Italy's Chianti Region South of Florence
Italy's Chianti Region South of Florence

Guide to Healthcare in Italy

10 Expats Talk about Healthcare and Health Insurance in Italy

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jan 17, 2021

Summary: Expats living in Italy talk about healthcare, proximity to hospitals and specialists, quality of medical care in Italy, availability of prescription medicines and more.

William Russell Expat Health Insurance

Expats in Italy offer insight into the quality of healthcare in Italy, proximity to hospitals, cost of health insurance and more.

What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Italy?

We asked expat moms who gave birth in Italy about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:

"I'd tell her to shrug off the opinions people impose on you, and to not take it personally. For example, don't worry if you don't want to know the sex, or if you don't want to share the name," commented an expat living in Montesilvano, Pescara, Italy.

"I would advise to make sure that you have a birthing plan, go to the anti natal classes just to meet other Mum's and get used to the lay out of the hospitals," said another expat in Genoa.

"Don't waste your time and money on private clinics. Maybe they will have nicer looking reception and not so many people waiting, but the best professionals are working in large state hospitals, best equipment end supplies are there either. One of my friends had a horrible experience in one of the most popular private clinics - Artemisia," remarked another in Rome.

"Just be ready for the unexpected and find someone who will advocate for you so that you will have full access to your rights to choose on all the issues like breastfeeding vs. bottles etc," explained one expat.

"Italians are obsessed with anything that could go wrong. the british instead tell you Ok you are pregnant so what? millions are. come back in 9 months. The righ approach for me is somewhere in the middle, so don't get too paranoid like most italians do... (but still be carefull with your salad if you haven't had the Toxo) In my town I found great services supporting mom and baby in the first months, and mostly free. But again, don't search on the internet, you won't find. Talk to other mothers, in Italy word of mouth is key," said another person in Verona.

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What are medical services in Italy like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Italy, they replied:

"$387/year/couple will buy into the medical program for the EU. That provides ER services, most doctor visits and discounts on medication and supplies. We can walk to our hospital and have found an English speaking GP and excellent dentist in the next town. We can also take the train to Rome for exceptional specialists. I paid (insurance reimbursed) 150 euro for lab work which would have been well over 1000 in the states," commented an expat living in Minturno, Italy.

"To seek a university hospital and or doctors associate with one. To ask the locals for references," commented an expat living in , Italy.

"If in serious health...seek English speaking private physician..."you get what you pay for"," said another expat in .

"Get established with a local doctor before you actually need one--you will need a primary car doctor to refer you to specialists," remarked another expat in Arezzo.

What do you think about the cost of medical care in Italy?

"I don't have health insurance for medical problems but only for problems resulting from an accident so I can respond to the first part of the question. Regarding the cost of medical care, if you go through the NHS the costs are contained and very reasonable, but should you use a private doctor/clinic the costs are similiar to the US. Alway depending on the expertise of the particular doctor," commented an expat living in , Italy.

"Health Insurance in Italy is based on the "breadwinner's" income and then a nominal amount for family members. For us: middle income retirees...c. E1600/yr total. Rx very inexpensive," said another expat in .

What are emergency services like?

When we asked about emergency services, members in Italy wrote:

"Ospedale Maggiore - 5 minutes There is usually a long wait (from 5 - 10 hours) in the ER. Excellent care. Public hospital San Orsola - 10 minutes There is usually a long wait (from 5 - 10 hours) in the ER, however they also have a special ER for eye problems and the wait is usually between 2 - 4 hours. Excellent care. Public hospital Rizzoli Orthopedic Istitute 15 minutes The wait in ER can be anywhere from 1 to 6 hours because they specialized in orthopedic trauma. Any kind of trauma involving internal organs is referred to one of the other hospitals. Care is good but I have been told that the other hospitals are good as well. ," commented an expat living in , Italy.

"We have hospitals nearby (c. 20 miles) and helicopter access...no experience personally yet," said another expat in .

Are their specialists in the area or do you need to travel to see a specialist?

"We haven' needed to travel outside the area but it might be necessary for neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery," commented an expat living in Arezzo, Italy.

Are most prescription medications available in Italy?

"Yes. I get them from the local pharmacy and I need a prescription to get them. As I have a chronic condition and a low income the NHS passes them to me for free. However there are some medicines which are I need to pay for and on the whole are not economic. If you wish you can get some generic brands which either cost much less or sometimes pass for free," commented an expat living in , Italy.

"Yes, mostly (not Transderm Scop for motion sickness and not Botox). The Rx I do use I get and pay for at local pharmacy...they are a fraction of the U.S. with Ins cost and are packaged (blister packs for everything) differently but virtually identical to US Rx," said another expat in .

"all common prescriptions are available here, generally a prescription is necessary but the pharmacists have a lot of discretion. I have been able to get antibiotics without a prescription for recurring sinus infections for example," remarked another expat in Arezzo.

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GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Italy from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Italy from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

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Get established with a local doctor before you actually need one--you will need a primary car doctor to refer you to specialists.

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Read recent baby reports submitted for Montesilvano, Pescara and Genoa.

If you're an expat parent who had a baby abroad, write a report about your childbirth experiences to help other expecting expat parents.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Italy's Chianti Region South of Florence
GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Italy from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Italy from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

Healthcare in ItalyHealthcare in Italy

An overview of the healthcare system in Italy - public and private hospitals, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), getting your Tessera Sanitaria (healthcare card), Covid-19 entry requirements, vaccinations for Italy, prescription medication availability and more.

Expat Healthcare Advice in Italy10 Expats Talk about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Italy

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5-Expat-Moms-Talk-about-Having-a-Baby-in-Italy5 Expat Moms Talk about Having a Baby in Italy

5 expat moms offer candid insight into what it's like giving birth in Italy - from bringing towels and toilet paper with you to the hospital to being refused pain medication. And, like most advice in Italy, word of mouth is the best way to find a good OB/GYN.

5 expat moms offer candid insight into what it's like giving birth in Italy - from bringing towels and toilet paper with you to the hospital to being refused pain medication. And, like most advice in...

9-Healthcare--Health-Insurance-Tips-for-Expats-in-Italy9 Healthcare & Health Insurance Tips for Expats in Italy

Expats in Italy share tips and advice about healthcare and health insurance in Italy. Advice about finding an English-speaking doctor, using The Sistema Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) and more.

Expats in Italy share tips and advice about healthcare and health insurance in Italy. Advice about finding an English-speaking doctor, using The Sistema Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) and more....

italy healthcare faqItaly Healthcare FAQ

Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about healthcare and health insurance for expats in Italy.

italy healthcare infoItaly Healthcare Info

Additional information about healthcare and health insurance for foreigners in Italy.

healthcare in ArezzoHealthcare in Arezzo, Italy

Get established with a local doctor before you actually need one--you will need a primary car doctor to refer you to specialists. -

healthcare in Healthcare in Italy

An expat in Italy discusses health care, pharmacies and health insurance costs. She explains that the cost of health insurance is nominal compared to the US and prescription medicine is very inexpens -

healthcare surveyAnswer Questions about Healthcare in Italy

Help others moving to Italy by answering a set of questions about health insurance, public healthcare in Italy, prescription medicine, quality of medical care and emergency services.

Having-a-Baby-In-ItalyExpats Talk about What it's Like Having a Baby in Italy

Read recent baby reports submitted for Montesilvano, Pescara and Genoa.

If you're an expat parent who had a baby abroad, write a report about your childbirth experiences to help other expecting expat parents.

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