- Italy Health Insurance Information
The 2000 report by WHO regarded that Italy being the second (just behind
overall best country in terms of healthcare system.
The comprehensive health care system is named Servizio Sanitario
Nazionale (or SSN for short).
SSN, funded by taxation money, was established in 1978 in
and it resembles the British model.
The three major areas covered by SSN are general practice (divided into adult
and pediatric service), out-and in-treatments, as well as the cost of most (not
necessarily all) medicines and sanitary ware.
At the same time, government has also defined the fundamental
levels of care (called Livelli essenziali di assistenza in italian or LEA)
whereby the state, through the regions, will treat all necessary illness
(exemptions included) either for free or for a "ticket", which represents a
portion of the costs.
This public system is accessible to all
citizens and residents. It also has
a unique feature in the sense that physicians are paid a fixed fee by SSN, so it
can be equated to a payroll system.
In return, the physicians must promise five work days a
week while patients count is capped at 1500.
Generally, SSN will assign doctors to patients.
However when patients are unhappy with the assignment, they are allowed
to change doctor, provided the doctor has free slots.
Prescription medicines in
are generally subsidized. Patients
will have to only make a co-payment, which are largely derived from medicine
type and income level of patients.
It is known that the poor in
is exempted from any payment.
However the subsidy does not apply to over-the-counter medicines.
Patients will need to go to specialized shops for both prescription and
While SSN has introduced comprehensive medical
assistance, the wait time in here is a big headache.
The big public facilities will usually require patients to
wait up to a few months. For patients who
like to get their treatments fast, there is this "free market" medical
This option is offered by both public and private
hospitals, and does not fall into the SSN scheme.
All free-market options require that patients pay for the medical care
out-of-pocket instead of co-payments.
Healthcare expenditure in
costs close to 9% of GDP 2006.
This amount is primarily for the public healthcare sector
(approximately three quarters is from government) and is on the high side
compared to the average of 8.9% in OECD countries.
Public hospitals are well represented in all corners of Italy, while it is easy to find
private hospitals in all major cities.
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