In WHO’s World Health Report 2000, Italy ranked second for the quality of its healthcare system. While many may argue whether Italy still deserves a podium finish, the country still has what is regarded as one of the best public systems around. There are also many private health insurance options are available for foreigners moving to Abruzzo.
Not without problems
Healthcare is fragmented in Italy and one cannot expect the same speed and level of treatment in much of the underfunded South as in a wealthier city in the North.
One should get to know their local context before drawing quick conclusions. I have two cousins, both medical doctors from Abruzzo, who helped me understand what the region has been going through recently. Unfortunately, the accounts are of a collapsing system, with promises of new hospitals and renovation of current ones getting lost in political battles and trade union vetos. Add to this long waiting lists for specialist visits and surgery, underfunded and understaffed hospitals, inefficient IT platforms, and the odd case of poor hygiene, and the picture can seem bleak.
However, a very positive note can be said of family doctors who, especially during the COVID 19 crisis, have put in much overtime to care for patients and send them in the right direction. This has been the case in the smaller towns and villages. It is certainly thanks to their knowledge, goodwill, and contacts that one’s medical experience in Abruzzo can be positive. Usually, you will likely benefit from establishing a good relationship with your family doctor.
Private health insurance
In Italy, the constitution enshrines the right for citizens and residents to receive healthcare (for foreign citizens, you must first become a resident and sign up to the national health service, the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale). This will not change, but one cannot expect the same level of treatment as 30 years ago, so Italians are opting more for out-of-pocket private visits and surgery.
This also explain why residents in Italy are increasingly taking out private health insurance. Originally, such policies included refunds for surgery, therapy, and specialist visits. Over time they have grown to offer extra benefits that often overlap with those offered by permanent disability insurance. It’s often not clear which the best option would be.
If you have time on your hands, you can scour the information available on the Internet to find what’s right for you. Your Italian needs to be good, since there is very little information in English and you might need an insurance broker or wealth planner to find the best suitable options.
Costs of health insurance in Abruzzo
The cost of private health insurance for foreigners in Abruzzo can vary significantly depending on current state of health, age, the number of family members you want to include, deductibles, coverage ceilings, and number of items to be covered. Premiums can go from anywhere from €750 to €10.000 annually. From my personal experience, most people are paying between €1.500 and €4.000.
Another interesting option which is gaining popularity in Italy is the mutual aid company. It offers the possibility to become a ‘club member’, where everybody has the same rights (apart from a few benefits which are not available above a certain age). The factors that affect the cost of an insurance policy do not apply here, meaning the head of family and its members can get covered for approximately €2.000 and never worry of the cost ever rising.
ABRUZZISSIMO Magazine suggests:
Mutual Basis Assistance (MBA) is mutual aid company active in Abruzzo. It has incorporated many other mutual aid companies in the last decade and is Italy’s largest.
Alessandro Antibo is a wealth planner at Milan-based Solutions Capital Management SIM (SCM). His mother was born in Abruzzo and he retains a close connection with the region. You can contact him directly at email@example.com.