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Best Italian Private Health Insurance for Living in Puglia

When it comes to securing your health in Italy, having a reliable private health insurance plan is not just a matter of choice; it’s a necessity for various compelling reasons. In this blog post, we’ll explore two critical factors that make private health insurance an indispensable part of your healthcare strategy in Italy.

Private Insurance as a means to Supplementing Public Healthcare

Italy boasts a publicly funded healthcare system, known as the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), offering quality medical care to residents and eligible visitors. However, private health insurance plays a pivotal role by supplementing the limitations of the public system. With a private insurance plan, you gain quicker access to medical services and facilities, enabling you to bypass potential waiting lists for non-urgent treatments. This is particularly beneficial when you require specialized care or elective procedures. Moreover, private health insurance grants you the flexibility to choose your healthcare provider and may cover additional services and treatments not included in the public system, ensuring you receive comprehensive and timely healthcare.

Legal Requirement for Schengen Visa and Permesso di Soggiorno

For those seeking to establish themselves in Italy, private health insurance is not just an option—it’s a legal obligation. When applying for a Schengen visa or a “permesso di soggiorno” (residence permit), one of the mandatory requirements is to demonstrate that you have adequate healthcare coverage. Until you obtain your SSN, you must rely on private health insurance to fulfill this requirement. Whether you’re planning a short stay or long-term residence, having private health insurance ensures that you meet the legal prerequisites, giving you peace of mind during your time in Italy.

Schengen Visa Insurance Rules

“… Applicants for a uniform visa for one or two entries shall prove that they are in possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance to cover any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death, during their stay(s) on the territory of the Member States.
The insurance shall be valid throughout the territory of the Schengen Area Member States and cover the entire period of the person’s intended stay or transit. The minimum coverage shall be EUR 30,000”

“Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council, dated 13 July 2009,” which became effective on April 5, 2010:

Schengen Visa Insurance Coverage Requirements

  1. It should provide a minimum coverage for medical expenses, amounting to at least 30,000 EUR (which is equivalent to 32,100 USD as of September 2023).
  2. The insurance coverage should extend to all member states within the Schengen Area.
  3. It must encompass costs associated with repatriation due to medical reasons, urgent medical care, emergency hospital treatment, or instances of fatality.

While travel health insurance is advisable for all travelers venturing to Europe, it’s not a compulsory prerequisite for everyone. The obligation to possess a travel insurance policy applies exclusively to individuals seeking a Schengen visa. This category of travelers must ensure they possess the necessary coverage for the entirety of their stay in Europe, regardless of their purpose, be it business, tourism, education, holidays, or any other reasons.

Conversely, foreign travelers visiting Europe who enjoy visa-free access to the Schengen zone may choose to acquire their preferred European travel insurance policy, and while it is highly recommended, it is not obligatory.

Travel Insruance vs Medical Insruance

Although travel insurance or medical insurance could both qualify for the Schengen Insurance Requirement, there is a clear distinction between travel insurance and private medical insurance that we should make.

Travel insurance primarily serves the needs of travelers during specific trips, offering coverage for incidents like trip interruption, lost luggage, and emergency services. It does not extend to routine check-ups or inpatient medical services. While it can include some limited medical coverage for emergencies, its primary focus is on addressing travel-related contingencies, making it a suitable choice for temporary visitors. It’s important to keep in mind that most travel insurance policies do not provide comprehensive healthcare coverage and may not be the right choice for individuals seeking routine healthcare or prolonged stays in Italy.

On the other hand, private medical insurance in Italy is designed for those looking for ongoing healthcare coverage. It encompasses various medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, hospitalization, prescription medications, and preventive care. However, it’s essential to note that most private medical insurance plans may not cover pre-existing conditions. While private insurance offers comprehensive healthcare services, it may not be necessary for emergency medical situations, as Italy has a public healthcare system that provides emergency services for free or at a nominal cost to residents and eligible visitors. Therefore, the choice between travel insurance and private medical insurance in Italy largely depends on the nature of your stay and your healthcare needs.

Best Schengen Travel Insurance

Europ Assistance

Europ Assistance, a trusted name in Schengen travel insurance, offers comprehensive coverage for your journey to the Schengen Area and beyond. With options like Schengen Coverage starting from just 3€ and Schengen Plus Coverage from 5€, you can protect yourself against unforeseen events such as illness or injury, with hospitalization expenses covered up to 60,000€. This insurance provides essential assistance in times of need and ensures your peace of mind while traveling. Europ Assistance makes it easy to purchase your travel insurance online, with certificates recognized by embassies and consulates worldwide, making it simpler to acquire your Schengen visa for your European adventure. With a wide array of supported languages, convenient online purchase options, and expert assistance available 24/7, Europ Assistance stands as a reliable choice for travelers seeking security and support during their journeys. by Insurte

Insurte partners with reputable medical assistance leaders like Allianz, Axa, Europ Assistance, and Mutuaide to search for the best Schengen visa prices

Can I use private Health Insurance at a Public Italian Hospital?

With private health insurance, you have the freedom to use either public or private services across the country. However, if you do not have public italian health insurance and are covered only by private health insurance, it’s important to note that direct payment for medical services in public hospitals will likely not be possible. Instead, you would typically pay out-of-pocket at the time of treatment and then seek reimbursement from your private insurance provider, depending on the terms and conditions of your policy. The process for reimbursement may vary, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specifics of your insurance policy and consult with the hospital administration for guidance on navigating this arrangement.

How to Evaluate the best private health insurance for ex-pats in Italy

Finding the best private health insurance for expats in Italy requires careful consideration of several factors, but the most important one should be making sure the insurance you choose is accepted by the hospital you plan on using. You can usually find this information on the hospital’s website. Check out a comprehensive list of public and private hospitals in Puglia here.

Covered Services

Generali, Axa, and Allianz offer a diverse array of coverage options catering to varying needs.


Striking a balance between premiums and deductibles is essential. Aetna International and Bupa Global are recognized for competitive pricing strategy.

Network Provider in Puglia

Cigna Global boasts a vast global network, ensuring convenient access to quality healthcare.

Multilingual Support

Allianz and Axa frequently provide multilingual customer support to assist expatriates.

Legal Requirements

Make sure the plan you choose meets residency or visa requirements, including the €30,000 coverage minimum, repatriation, ane Shengen Coverage.

Additional Services

Take into account wellness programs; both Cigna Global and Bupa Global often offer such services.

Healthcare Facilities

Research the healthcare facilities associated with each insurer to ensure access to top-tier medical services, with Allianz being recognized for its commitment to quality care.

Doctors in Italy

Doctors in Italy offers English-Speaking 24/7 video visits starting at just 20 Euros, you can consult with a real doctor online for a range of common conditions. The service is hassle-free, no sign-ups required, and offers primary care, urgent care, and virtual care on your schedule. They also offer some house calls, and office visits in Puglia as well.

Regarding insurance, Doctors in Italy directly bill Cigna, Henner, Allianz, Healix, and Geoblue, and they also accept a Guarantee of Payment from United Healthcare, International SOS, AXA, Bupa, and other providers. This streamlines the payment process, making healthcare expenses more accessible and efficient for travelers and residents in Italy.

Casa di Cura Prof.Petrucciani

Casa di Cura Prof. Petrucciani, the primary private hospital in Lecce, offers an extensive range of specialized medical services to cater to diverse healthcare needs. Their expert team provides services in angiology, cardiology, fertility treatments, general surgery, plastic surgery, proctological surgery, vascular surgery, dermatology, digestive endoscopy, gynecology, aesthetic medicine, general medicine, clinical and dietetic nutrition, ophthalmology, dentistry, orthodontics, health psychology, radiology, senology, post-operative intensive care, and urology. This comprehensive approach to healthcare extends to making it accessible through various insurance providers. Casa di Cura Prof. Petrucciani accepts a wide range of insurances, including Allianz, Aon, Assirete, AXA, Blue Assistance, Cooperazion Salute, Europ Assistance, Faschim, Fasdac Fasi, Fasi Assidai, Fasi Open, Fisde Enel, Generali, myAssistance, myRete, Poste Vita, Poste Welfare, Previmedical, RBM Salute, and UniSalute. Click here for a comprehensive list of public and private hospitals in Puglia.

Most Accepted Health Insurance Companies for Expats in Puglia

Navigating the healthcare landscape as an expatriate inPuglia comes with its unique considerations. One of the key factors expats should be aware of is the limited direct pay network prevalent in Puglia. This means that while expats can access medical services in this captivating region, the standard practice often involves paying upfront for healthcare services and then seeking reimbursement from their insurance providers. Understanding this dynamic is essential when considering health insurance options. In this article, we will delve into the most accepted health insurance companies for expats in Puglia, shedding light on the choices available to ensure your health and well-being while residing in this charming part of Italy.

Allianz Care

Allianz Care offers comprehensive coverage that includes doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications. They provide a range of plans with various levels of coverage, including inpatient and outpatient treatments, emergency medical assistance, and maternity care. The pros of choosing Allianz Care include their competitive pricing strategy, flexibility in coverage options, and a user-friendly online platform for managing policies. However, one of the cons is that their customer service can sometimes be slow in responding to queries.


Generali’s “Imagine Now Health & Wellbeing” is a versatile health insurance plan in Italy that prioritizes the well-being of individuals and families. The standout benefits of this insurance encompass personalized check-ups, ensuring your health remains a top priority, while continuous protection means that you and your loved ones are consistently covered. Access to specialist visits at favorable rates guarantees quality healthcare when you need it most, and tailored disease protection emphasizes the importance of early intervention. With coverage extending throughout your life, the plan provides enduring peace of mind. Mobility protection covers injuries on the go, ensuring unlimited mobility from car to electric scooter. Furthermore, exclusive access to the W Benessere service via the Customer Area offers discounted healthcare facility rates and support for booking specialist visits and diagnostic tests, enhancing your well-being.


Axa offers a variety of plans that cover hospital treatment, outpatient care, and specialist consultations. One of the key advantages of Axa PPP International is their global network of healthcare providers, allowing expats to access quality care not only in Italy but also worldwide. However, some expats may find the cost of Axa PPP International plans to be higher compared to other providers.

Aetna International

A reputable health insurance provider for expats in Italy. They offer a range of plans that cover both inpatient and outpatient treatments, dental and vision care, and emergency medical evacuation. Aetna International is known for its extensive network of healthcare providers and their user-friendly customer portal. The pros of choosing Aetna International include their prompt customer service, coverage for pre-existing conditions, and the ability to add additional coverage options. However, one of the cons is that their premiums can be costly depending on the selected plan.

Cigna Global

One of the best private health insurance providers for expats in Italy is Cigna Global. Cigna Global offers a range of plans that provide coverage for medical treatment, hospitalization, and emergency services. One of the main advantages of Cigna Global is their extensive network of healthcare providers, ensuring that expats have access to quality care wherever they are in Italy. However, one downside of Cigna Global is that their plans can be quite expensive, with costs varying depending on the level of coverage chosen.

Bupa Global 

A highly respected private health insurance provider for expats in Italy. They offer comprehensive coverage for inpatient and outpatient treatments, emergency medical assistance, and access to a wide network of hospitals and doctors. Bupa Global is known for its excellent customer service, including a 24/7 helpline and a dedicated app for managing policies. The pros of choosing Bupa Global include their flexible coverage options, high claims settlement rate, and coverage for pre-existing conditions. However, one of the cons is that their premiums are generally higher compared to other providers.

Over to you

Private health insurance in Italy is vital for residents and expatriates, complementing the public healthcare system by offering quick access to services, flexibility in providers, and additional coverage. Moreover, it’s a legal requirement for Schengen visa and residence permit applicants, providing peace of mind during their time in Italy. When using private insurance at public Italian hospitals, reimbursement is common, and understanding this dynamic is essential, particularly in Puglia, where direct payment networks are limited. Consider factors like coverage, cost, network, multilingual support, legal compliance, and healthcare facilities when selecting insurance to ensure quality healthcare access during your stay in Italy.

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