For accidents and emergencies, call 118 for Italy’s emergency medical service.
Once you arrive at hospital, you'll be assigned a colour code depending on the severity of your condition.
If you're classed as red (the most serious), yellow, or green, all of your treatment will be free of charge. However, if your reason for admission is classed as blue or white, you'll need to pay €25 unless you’re pregnant, have been awarded a government-approved exemption or the patient is under 14 years old.
Without medical insurance, you may need to pay for your emergency medical fees up front. If you have medical insurance, your insurer may be able to pay the hospital directly, so you don’t have to. Or if you pay the hospital you may be able to get the costs reimbursed.
Paying for healthcare
If you're a citizen in the European Union or European Economic Area and you don’t have a European health insurance card (EHIC) you'll have to pay for the entirety of your treatment unless you're pregnant, need urgent medical attention or the patient is under 14 years old.
If you’re an EHIC holder and/or have been granted a residence permit you can register with the SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) at the nearest ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) and get public healthcare under the same, cost-free conditions as Italian citizens.
As a non-EU citizen coming to Italy you’ll need to apply for a permit to stay to be allowed in the country beyond your first 90 days. Once granted (a process that can take around three months), this will provide equivalent access to having an EHIC.
You don’t need to take out private health insurance to get a permit to stay in Italy, but it is highly recommended for at least the first 90 days, just in case you need to visit a doctor unexpectedly. Many expats in Italy choose to go private as there is a wider choice of medical facilities and easier access to faster and more comfortable care2 but it’s worth factoring in the additional cost of care in private facilities.