Italian health insurance

Italy has a public health service, called National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale), offering the following services:
- choice of the general practitioner and the pediatrician for kids; GPs provide for standard medical consultancy and are free of charge;
- tests, medical exams and treatments (also outpatient appointments), referral to consultants/specialists; they can be provided by hospitals or private medical centres in partnership with the NHS. Payment of a prescription charge is required (the cost depends from the service);
- emergency care, hospital treatment and emergency surgery (free of charge);
- pharmacy services: the majority of drugs can be purchased freely at the pharmacy, but there some exceptions, such as antibiotics, antidepressants, life-saving drugs, etc., which can only be sold upon medical prescription and usually at reduced prices.

Citizens of EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland can use their European Health Insurance Card and have access to medical services by paying a prescription charge (ticket). If you don’t have the card, ask for information to the NHS office back in your home country before leaving.
Before leaving your home country, ask for the S1 form: it will allow you to enroll to the health service in Italy and choose your general practitioner. This form is supposed to be used when the person asks for medical coverage in a country different from the one where one pays taxes and has fiscal residence (for instance, if you're a Spanish or French student spending a period abroad - longer than 90 days).

Citizens of EU countries paying taxes in Italy and staying for more than 90 days can enroll in the National Health Service for free. No S1 form is required.

Firstly, you should ask if you home country has signed an agreement with Italy for health assistance, and if so, how you can have access to it.*
*Italy has signed agreements with the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Capo Verde, Vatican City, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Monaco, San Marino and Tunisia. Nationals of these countries – with a declaration from their country of origin – have access to the Italian NHS by paying only the prescription charge.

If no agreement is available, here are the options:
*If you stay short term (less than 90 days), you can purchase a private health insurance (not compulsory). You can refer to the Italian health service only for emergency treatments (subject to payment of a prescription charge). Enrolment in the National Health Service is not possible.
*If you stay long term (more than 90 days), you must purchase a health insurance covering your entire stay. Please note that this is compulsory, otherwise you won’t get the residence permit.

You have several choices:

1) Buy a private insurance back in your home country or in Italy after your arrival

At present the most convenient private health insurance for international students is provided by W.A.I (Welcome Association Italy).

For non-EU citizens:
120 € for 12 months
71 € for 6 months 

For EU citizens under 40
202 € for 12 months
142 € for 6 months

This insurance, which starts from the date of purchase, only covers emergency treatment (that means that expenses are covered only if you are admitted to hospital by ambulance or through the emergency room) + a limited no. of extra services occurring up to 3 times a year. For details: Please note that for non-EU citizens the insurance will be valid only after applying for the residence permit.

How to purchase the health insurance? You should join the WAI Association and pay the membership fee (above). Here the link:

For the registration:
*Enter your personal information (name, surname, email, date and place of birth, address of residence)
*Upload a copy of your passport, enter the passport no. and choose your country of residence from the drop down menu
*Choose the payment method (bank transfer, credit card or postal pay slip, to be paid once you're in Italy) 

With your password and username you'll be able to enter your personal account. 

Other companies can also cater for health insurance policies, often with a better coverage but at higher prices. For instance, Europ Assistance offers to foreigners travelling to Italy an insurance with full health assistance (24 hours a day) and the refund for urgent medical expenses up to 10,000€ or 30,000€ (depending on the insurance premium).

2) Registration within the Italian National Health Service*

People with an employment contract (Visiting Professors) who pay taxes in Italy, have right to free enrolment.

Go to the local Health Office (ASL) – here the list – and bring passport, employment contract, residence permit or receipt from the Post Office, if you are still waiting for the permit to be released, self-certification of residence in Italy and fiscal code. Enrolment is performed straight away, but if you don’t have the residence permit yet, it’ll be temporary and become permanent only when you get the permit.

People without employment contract (not paying taxes in Italy)
For students and researchers registration within the National Health Service is not compulsory, but upon the payment of a fee. Registration is valid from January 1st to December 31st (1 solar year): for instance, if you register in October, you’ll have to pay the yearly fee, although enrolment expires on December 31st.

Go to the local Health Service office (ASL) and bring passport, residence permit or receipt from the Post Office, if you are still waiting for the permit to be released, self-certification of residence in Italy and fiscal code.

For students: you pay a minimum fee (149.77 euro). In addition to the documents listed above, you will need the payment receipt, the certificate of enrolment to University or a self-certificate (if you aren’t a regular student, a letter from the Department stating that you are a Visiting Student will do). Regular PhD students can produce a self statement of their enrollment. 

For researchers*: the fee varies according to your income (referred to the previous year). Minimum is 387.34 euro per year. The exact amount will be determined by the ASL officer. In addition to the documents listed above, you will need the payment receipt and the contract (Host Agreement) with POLIMI.

How to pay:
Go the post office and fill in a postal pay slip with the following details: account n°. 379222; recipient: P.T. REGIONE LOMBARDIA; Reason for payment: Iscrizione SSN Anno XXXX (complete with the year of registration). You can use the payment receipt for the residence permit application. 

Useful information:

*According to national laws, researchers have right to a suitable health insurance coverage, i.e. either the enrollment to the NHS or a private insurance. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers its researchers an insurance with the company Europ Assistance. 

Useful information
The ASL office closest to POLIMI is located in Largo Donatori del Sangue, 1 – Milano (map)
Opening hours: Tuesday and Thursday, from 08:30 to 12:00 – from 13:30 to 15:00
Email: sceltaerevoca.ricordi(at)


Latest update: January, 2018