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Healthcare in Milan

What awaits an expat in Milan? Our InterNations Guide introduces leisure and culture in northern Italy’s most influential city. You’ll also find plenty of practical tips, from healthcare and driving permits to education options for expat children.
Thanks to Italy’s national healthcare system, visits to the GP and stays in public clinics are free!

Public Health Insurance for Foreign Residents

Most expats living in Milan have access to Italy’s public healthcare system, the Servizio sanitario nazionale (SSN). All foreign residents from EU/EFTA member states, as well as third-country nationals with a valid residence permit, are covered by the SSN. Their dependent family members, i.e. non-working spouses and children under the age of 18, can register as well.

However, third-country nationals may have to show proof of private health insurance when applying for their visa. Once they have arrived in Italy, though, they still can — or have to — register with the SSN.

Registration with the SSN can be either mandatory or voluntary. For the following groups of people — among others — it is mandatory to register with the public health insurance system:

  • employees
  • self-employed people
  • anyone eligible for unemployment benefits
  • those with a confirmed job offer, waiting for their new employment to start
  • dependent family members of the above

In some cases, however, you can decide whether you’d like to register with the SSN or not. If you do, you’ll have to pay income-based contributions for every calendar year of your voluntary insurance.

 For instance, voluntary registration applies to:

  • students
  • au-pairs
  • IGO employees
  • independent researchers
  • diplomatic staff

Medical Services Provided by the SSN

Once you are registered with the SSN, you will receive your official SSN card. Take good care of it — it is valid for the same period as your residence permit, and you have to show it whenever you go to see a doctor or dentist.

Visits to your general practitioner and stays in public hospitals are free. However, you may have to make co-payments for specific exams, treatments, or medications, as well as for appointments with medical specialists. Of course, to avoid such co-payments and long waiting times, you can always take out private health insurance and enjoy a wider range of services.

Registering with the SSN in Milan

In Milan, the Agenzia di Tutela della Salute (ATS, meaning Health Protection Agency) is your point of reference for all general questions on the SSN healthcare system. To get your health card, you must register at the central ATS office, which is located at Corso Italia 19, 20122 Milano. The contact number for the office itself is +39 02 85781.

In order to register at the ATS, you need to submit various documents depending on your specific situation (the government has provided a helpful guide for non-EU nationals which covers most eventualities). Generally, however, you will need to provide an identity document, your residence confirmation, your stay permit, and your taxpayer’s code.

The ATS website can also help you to find your local GP (medico generico) or pediatrician (pediatra), as well as your nearest pharmacy.

Medical Facilities in Milan

The general emergency numbers for Italy are 118 for medical assistance and 112 and 113 for the national and Milan city police, respectively. By calling 02 34567, you can get in touch with a doctor on duty (guardia medica/continuità assistenziale). He or she can give you advice, arrange appointments, or make house calls at night, on weekends, and on public holidays.

Milan has over half a dozen large public hospitals with accident and emergency departments. The Ospedale Niguardia and the Ospedale Sacco have an orientation desk for foreign patients, so the language barrier should be less of a problem here. If you prefer to have a doctor who is fluent in English (or French or German), there are several centers catering to Milan’s large expat community, such as the Milan Medical Center or the American International Medical Center. However, check with them before a visit if they require private medical insurance.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Francois Carpentier

"With the help of InterNations, my wife and I met a lot of other French expats at the famous aperitivos here in Milan."

Annabelle Molenaar

"The Milan Community of InterNations is just so great: regular events -- several easy-going Ambassadors -- really friendly expat crowd!"

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