Is the Doctor in?
First of all, "Servizio Sanitario" doesn't exactly make me think free medical coverage. My English speaking brain translates this more into Sanitary Services like "I will clean your toilets and sell you sanitary napkins too"! But, in fact, it does mean free medical coverage in Italy. Or at least from what I understand it does. Sometimes I will pay a nominal fee for a service which would otherwise be very costly and then when I do my taxes I can claim this amount back.
To be honest, it's still all a bit of a mystery to me, but when I was browsing this site I saw that no one else seemed to tackle this subject so I figured some information was better than none! If you read my blog: help! I live with my italian mother in law, you will get the full story in the post "A chicken, an egg and a victory".
What I will tell you is this: I have a temporary Permesso di Soggiorno and a Codice Fiscale. When I went to the doctor last week he wanted to do some blood work on me but the tests he needed were very expensive. He mentioned that I qualified for something he referred to as an STP. I was under the assumption that I needed to get my residency first, which I cannot apply for until my Permesso di Soggiorno is finalized.
What I know for sure is that I now have a document that is called a Sanitario Servizio. Apparently the plastic version will be mailed to me. (Note: I was also told my Codice Fiscal would be plastic and mailed to me and that was a year ago). Anyways, this little piece of paper entitles me to use the public medical system and get those tests done.
When making the application you must go to the ASL offices nearest your home/residence because they do these things by region. I brought along my passport and documents and within 10 minutes I was given the card. The only question I was stumped on was when they asked what the name of my family doctor was. I was seeing a "female specialist" and didn't quite understand. I called my mother in law and she gave me the name of our "family doctor" (apparently everyone in Italy has one).
Hope this info sheds some light on the subject!
Guide section: Health care
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