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Health Service

Italy - Health Service

Italy possesses multiple numbers in case of emergency. The Europe-wide emergency number is 112, but Italy has its unique numbers as well, including 113 for police, 115 for fire services, and 118 for first aid. As for standard health care, a good example is found in the standards of living and quality of life; both are excellent! Italy is the second best country for overall life expectancy and health care; women live up to 84.5 years, and men reach up to 79.4 years.

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

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
Number: +39-320-3152481
Email: niamhw@inwind.it
Website: www.aspicbologna.it
Location: Bologna, Italy

Italian Association of Psychologists
Email: info@aipass.org
Website: aipass.org

Italian Psychology Society
Number: +39-06-884-5136
Email: info@sips.it
Website: www.sips.it

National Council of the Order of Psychologists
Number: +39-(06)-44292351
Email: info@psy.it
Website: www.psy.it

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.