International Health Insurance in Italy

When it comes to beauty, opportunities, lifestyle and staying healthy, few countries can match Italy. The weather is wonderful, and the culture is rich – so rich, you’ll find Italian influences all around the world. And people across the globe want to live and work in Italy and experience the country for real.

If you’re studying, working or living in Italy, you’ll want to make sure you enjoy your time here with added security and peace of mind. This country has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but you need to know you can get the help you need, when you need it most.

Find out more about expat health insurance in Italy with Cigna Healthcare.

How does the healthcare system work in Italy?

It’s no exaggeration to say Italy’s healthcare is impressive. The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks it as the second best in the world.

Since 1978, Italian healthcare has worked through a mix of public and private systems. The public system – Servicio Sanitario Nazionale, or SSN – has provided free or low-cost healthcare to every Italian citizen, plus non-citizen residents. SSN is funded by a combination of government funding and income tax, and everybody working in Italy pays into it, whether they are only signed up for private health insurance or not.

If you’re a UK citizen visiting Italy, you can use a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to access Italian state healthcare. GHIC is the replacement for the pre-Brexit EHIC. You may have to pay for some parts of the public healthcare system, though some are free.


Pros and cons of using Italy's local healthcare system


  • Clinics and hospitals are generally of a high standard – they’re safe, clean and there’re lots of staff on hand.
  • Most services, including prescriptions, family doctors and hospital admissions, are either free or very cheap.
  • Italy is the only country in Europe that allows families to choose a free paediatrician for children aged 0-14 years.

Read more on life in Italy


  • You may have long waiting times.
  • Regional governments manage SSN in their provinces, so standards can vary. Northern Italy is generally considered superior to southern areas.
  • Some facilities lack privacy and comfort.

How can international health insurance help you in Italy?

Quality varies depending on where you are in Italy, but all public hospitals will involve some degree of waiting. And when you do get in you may find privacy is an issue or staff may not speak English.

For these reasons, most expats opt for private health insurance in Italy. With private health insurance:

  • Hospitals are comfortable and have state-of-the-art technology.
  • Staff are multilingual.
  • You can skip long waiting times.
  • There’s greater choice.

Choosing your international health insurance

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Why choose Cigna Healthcare for health insurance in Italy?

  • Medical support covers over 200 countries and gives access to over 1.5m expert health professionals around the world.
  • A wide range of industry-leading services and tools to get the vest out of healthcare in Italy.
  • Flexibility – find a plan that suits your needs.
  • 24/7 multilingual service. Our staff can make sure you get help quicker by avoiding potential language barriers.

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Veelgestelde vragen

The SSN only covers dental care for emergency cases and for children up to 16-years-old. However, dental and orthodontic services in Italy are often cheaper than in the UK – up to 30 percent less. Private health insurance will ensure you get treatment for procedures including tooth removal and the fitting of braces.

The SSN offers free basic healthcare for expats staying in Italy for more than three months. But you are legally obliged to register with the SSN after 90 days of living in the country. Registration will be free for:
• Those with a work agreement.
• Self-employed people in Italy.
• Family members of someone who is registered or an Italian citizen.
• People who are unemployed, or registered on the employment lists or a professional training course.

It’s up to you what currency you’re reimbursed in. We offer reimbursement in up to 125 currencies, including pound sterling and the Euro.