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Italy - Health Service
The National Health Care Service
The health care is universal, meaning that Italy does not charge sick individuals for health care. The National Health Care service is organized by regions, and the Ministry of Health is tasked with caring for all of the country’s sick citizens, ensuring nationwide health care. A citizen’s health care is dependent on their region, and the regions actually deliver and take care of the health of the residents. The final branch of health care delivers public care, community care, and primary care. This form of health care is also responsible for hospitalization and private medical practitioners.
Italy established its health care plan after World War 2. In Italy’s health care lies free social security and health insurance; at the time, the 1970s “sickness fund” ran out, leaving citizens uninsured and without healthcare. As a result, Italy established its National Health Care service in 1978; its goal revolves around nationwide health coverage, and it receives its funding from taxes.
Health insurance is free, established by regions and governed by the National Health Care. Citizens may choose to acquire private insurance, covering any costs that are not covered by social security. Typically, citizens born outside of Italy and Europe need private health insurance to cover their medical costs. Potential citizens with private health care in one country should be able to “transport” their private health insurance to Italy by stating any previous health concerns, hospitalizations, etc. Many Italian companies involve health care within their business, but it is typically meant for Italian citizens and not foreigners. When shopping for health insurance as a foreigner, it is recommended to acquire foreign health insurance as well. Foreign health insurance poses no restrictions; you can choose your doctor, clinic, and hospital; and it will be automatically accepted by the authorities. A foreigner in Italy should expect to pay an annual €1,000 to €2,000 in health insurance.
Smokers and Health Care
Italy is making attempts to reduce the smoking population, and it is succeeding. However, its progress is considered below average compared to other countries. The average amount of tobacco consumption in Italy dropped from 24% to 22%; the OECD average is currently 20%. Smoking seems to be decreasing in the north and in men more significantly than in the south and in women. As a whole, 85% of the country supports smoking restrictions and certain areas for smokers. Quite a few bans on the smoking population have taken place within the last decade, including the illegalization of smoking in the car with children. It also recently banned smoking in indoor areas to decrease health risks associated with secondhand smoke. Italy expects continual reduction in the smoking population within the next decade.
Common Health Issues in Italy
Some of Italy’s main health issues revolve around smoking and drinking. The population enjoys indulgence, but demographics are showing that indulgence comes at a cost. Some of the health problems linked to smoking and drinking include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lung cancer, and high cholesterol (which 25% of the population currently suffers). These symptoms also stem from a lack of exercise and general activity. Currently, smoking and drinking are large issues in the central and southern regions of Italy.
Counseling for Foreigners
As for forms of health care revolving around mentality, psychologists and counselors are available for foreigners. Many therapists, native and foreign, are willing to aid foreigners in cultural sensitivity. Multiple cities host well-known counselors, whose intentions revolve around your mental health and adjustment abilities. Some of these organizations include the following:
Order of Psychologists
Location: Bologna, Italy
Italian Association of Psychologists
Italian Psychology Society
National Council of the Order of Psychologists
Read more about this country
Expat Health Insurance Partners
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