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Before You Go: Traveler Healthcare in Italy

Travel health insurance recommended

Italy‘s medical facilities range from excellent in major cities, to more limited elsewhere. Be prepared to pay in cash prior to treatment, even in emergency situations.

Medical Care for most Europeans: Residents of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) at any public medical facilities or private facilities. You are only entitled to essential medical care, so you should look into additional coverage as needed. If you don’t already have an EHIC card and you qualify for one, pick one up before you go.

Medical Care for Other Travelers: If you do not have a valid European health card, you will be responsible for the full cost of any treatment up front, though most facilities accept travel insurance.

PharmaciesPharmacies in Italy are well-stocked, and they’re a good place to start for non-emergency medical advice and local referrals. Italy’s cities boast plenty of pharmacies, many of which are open 24-hours on a rotating basis. All pharmacies post a calendar listing the nearest open option. Small towns have at least one pharmacy, but often more limited opening hours. Pharmacy hours are typically 9:30am-12:30pm (09:30-12:30) and 3:30-7:30pm (15:30-19:30).

Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink in Italy. You can also find bottled water pretty much anywhere you go, and you can get a free glass of tap water at all bars.

If you’re bringing prescription medications:
  1. Check to see if there are restrictions on your medication in your destination country, especially if the medication contains narcotics, amphetamines or other often controlled substances
  2. Bring medications in their original, labeled container. Never carry loose medication
  3. Include your dated prescription signed by your doctor, certifying the condition the medications are prescribed for, dosages and their generic drug names. Ensure the name on the prescription, container and your passport all match.
  4. If you need syringes or needles, your doctor includes their need on the prescription.
  5. Before you leave, find out how you can legally access medications in the case of loss, theft or emergency – even OTC medication may require documentation from your doctor. Never have controlled substances mailed to you
  6. If legal, consider bring a second container of any essential medications, in case one is lost or stolen. Pack the primary bottle in your carry on, and the second one in another location. Personal-use quantity restrictions may limit you to 30-or 90-day supplies
Travel Health Insurance Checklist:
  1. Investigate travel health insurance options
  2. Be sure the plan includes any pre-existing conditions you have, and be sure to declare them before you go
  3. See if you need an “Extreme Sports” add-on policy if you’re planning activities like scuba diving or spelunking
  4. Find out the payment or reimbursement process and 24-hour emergency coverage contact