What happens if you are overseas and in need of healthcare treatment? In the unlikely event of requiring healthcare services in the EU outside of Italy, the Tessera Sanitaria system has you covered.
The European Union has enacted a Healthcare cooperation among its state members, in an attempt to create a single service for Healthcare services, thus reducing the paperwork required to claim health care services overseas.
Tessera Sanitaria and TEAM
The Tessera Sanitaria has in its back the TEAM (Tessera Europea Assicurazione Malattia), which can be shown to doctors and hospitals in any other EU country. Every individual having the Tessera Sanitaria has the TEAM coverage, on top of the following individuals can be covered by the TEAM:
- Italian workers posted overseas;
- Italian students enrolled in AIRE;
- Pensioners (and family members) in possession of S1 form;
- Family members of workers posted overseas.
If you are waiting for the Tessera Sanitaria because it has expired, or it is due to expire soon, you can request a Certificate of coverage (Certificato Sostitutivo della TEAM) from the local ASL. This certificate replaces the TEAM for the period overseas
How to use TEAM
The patient can visit any doctor, hospital, or any private healthcare clinic affiliated with the public system showing the TEAM card. This grants access to the health system under the same conditions of the citizens of the foreign country.
The treatment is normally free, in certain circumstances a ticket payment is requested and it is on the patient (thus non refundable).
In certain EU countries (France for example), the patient is required to pay for the treatment, yet the patient can request the refund directly to the foreign health administration, or to the ASL once returned to Italy.
The patient must have proof of the treatment, as well as the payment receipt to show to ASL.
You cannot use TEAM to access cures and planned treatment, it is only a system used in case of emergency. If you need to be treated outside of Italy, the ASL needs to agree to that in order to claim any costs back.
What about non-EU countries?
The TEAM does not work in non-EU countries, however some countries might have a reciprocity agreement with Italy, resulting in the possibility of each other citizens to benefit from healthcare treatment in the other country.
In this case, the Italian citizen can only access urgent healthcare overseas free of charge.
Forms required to access healthcare overseas
Under certain circumstances, and prior to providing the required forms, you can access healthcare in the other EU country.
A retiree living in Italy, but insured in another EU country, can access Italian healthcare coverage if in possession of the S1 form. This form applies to pensioners retiring abroad, and families of workers posted overseas.
Planned medical treatment can be undertaken in a different EU country, and paid by the Italian Health system, however the patient needs to obtain a S2 form (prior named E112) from the local ASL.
The local ASL defines which costs will be covered and paid for.
Same rules apply for hospital treatment outside of Italy, however you must bear in mind that the treatment is covered under the terms of the country of treatment, thus in some cases you might be required to advance the costs for the treatment and then reimburse it later on.
If you fail to obtain a preemptive authorization, there is no guarantee your costs will be reimbursed.