Tessera Sanitaria (Medical Insurance)
Getting sick without an insurance is extremely costly.
With the Tessera Sanitaria, visits to the medico di famiglia are free. Some medicines are free, while others are obtained from any pharmacy with a huge discount. Visits to specialists, laboratory tests and operations could be free or may require some payment but at much lower fees than normal. This insurance covers most illnesses, even preexisting ones, as well as maintenance medicines. (On the other hand, dental and opthalmological services are not covered; you’ll need an insurance costing some €500 a month for these.)
While in the past it was possible to get the insurance when one was already admitted to the hospital, nowadays the government is getting stricter. In fact, if one does not have the insurance yet and gets admitted to the hospital (even if coming from the Emergency Room), he or she might be automatically considered a private patient, and might be asked to pay for all the hospital fees, which will run into thousands of Euros after just a few days.
For the above reasons, almost all training institutions in first world countries, where medical costs are high, require a health insurance from their students. Similarly, the Collegio Filippino requires that each student procure a health insurance for himself. While Bishops and Dioceses commit themselves to shoulder their Priests’ medical needs in Rome, it is the Priest’s ultimate responsibility to ensure that he is properly covered (in the same way that it is his responsibility to ensure that his board and lodging, tuition, transportation, and other fees are duly paid).
In Italy, the National Health Service has a standard insurance system, the “Assicurazione Volontaria al Servizio Sanitario Nazionale”. An ID card is issued for those insured, called the “Tessera Sanitaria”.
If you do not have a Tessera Sanitaria (or some other equivalent medical insurance), it will be extremely difficult to accompany you to the hospital, as the hospital might be asking for a Tessera Sanitaria and charging you a huge amount. For those who do not get a Tessera Sanitaria, you need to submit a document for the Collegio Rector to file, formally indicating, in case you need to see the doctor, who should accompany you, and where to get the money for eventual payments running in the thousands of Euros. The document should be countersigned for acceptance by the person(s) indicated to accompany you, and who has access to the funds you indicated.
STEP 1: FORMS TO FILL UP TO OBTAIN THE TESSERA SANITARIA (whether first time or renewal)
- Print and fill up the Application form. You may follow this model.
- Print and fill up the form for Extracomunitari. You may follow this model. As of 2017, name of Doctor could be: Dott. Enrico Tempera (see below for other options and more details).
- If delegating, print and fill up the Delega form. You may follow this model.
- Click here for an online Bolletino Postale, which you may save as PCF and print. Alternatively, print, cut lengthwise, and fill up a blank Bolletino Postale form. This is also available from the Post Office; the form might vary a bit, but the information needed is the same, as follows (you may follow this model, though your form might only have two instead of three sections).
- sul C/C n.: 370007
- di Euro (amount): as of July 2017, the amounts were: € 149.77 for those with Motivo Studio Permesso di Soggiorno, and € 387.34 for those with Motivo Religioso Permesso di Soggiorno
- importo in lettere: either “Centoquarantanove Euro e 77 cent.” or “Trecento ottanta sette Euro e 34 cent.”
- intestato a: AMM. P.T. REGIONE LAZIO
- causale: ISCRIZIONE AL S.S.N. ANNO 2017 [indicate current year!]
- eseguito da: [put your name and address]
STEP 2: Gather the following documents, and make one photocopy of each.
(If the document has information back to back, for example, the Permesso di Soggiorno, then the photocopy should also be back to back, just like the original – not on separate sheets, and not two sides of the document on the same side of the sheet!):
- Application form
- Form for Extracomunitari
- Permesso di Soggiorno (or for old timers with expired soggiorno, and for newcomers: the receipts given by Poste Italiane when you applied for the Soggiorno)
- Certificato di Iscrizione from the University
- Codice Fiscale (if renewing: your old Tessera Sanitaria instead)
- If renewing: the “LIBRETTO” given to you the last time you applied; it is the bond paper with missing 1/4 part, with the words on the upper left: “Regione Lazio” and “TESSERA DI ISCRIZIONE AL SERVIZIO SANITARIO REGIONALE”, and on the lower half, “ELENCO STUDI MEDICI” (some also call this the “cedolino”).
- If delegating: Delega form, and the Delegate’s document stated in the Delega form
STEP 3: PAY AT THE POSTE
- To make the payment, you (or your Delegate) may go to any post office, get a number by pressing the button for Servizi Finanziari – Bolletini (usually button letter F), and wait for your turn to be called. Pay the corresponding amount, plus the processing fee of around €1.50. Make two photocopies of the Poste receipt: one for the ASL, and one for your files.
STEP 4: APPLY AT THE ASL OFFICE
- Bring the ORIGINALS AND PHOTOCOPIES to the ASL office at Via Valle Aurelia 115a – 00167 Roma or to Via Boccea 271 – 00167 Roma, which are both 15 minutes away walking.
- As of February 2020 they are open Mondays to Fridays 10:00-12:00 (even though their notice says 8:30 to 12:30; you may fall in line and get a number starting 9:00).
- The ASL will ask who your doctor is (“medico di famiglia”). The following were recommended by the Carmelite Sisters:
- Dott. Enrico Tempera, at Via Lamberto Da Fagnano, 10/A – 00165 Roma, tel 06 6641 7009 (near the Carmelites); schedules: Monday 16.00-19.00, Tuesday 9.00-12.00, Wednesday 16.00-19.00, Thursday 16.00-19.00, Friday 9.00-12.00.
- Dott. Filiizio (Piazza Irnerio)
- lady doctor Dott.sa Nazaro
- NOTE: You may change doctors later on if you wish, by going back to the ASL office.
- Before you leave the counter, make sure you are given:
- the originals of the documents you showed (Passport, Permesso di Soggiorno, Codice Fiscale, etc.);
- a printout of your Tessera Sanitaria, which is valid for all legal purposes, as the original card of which will reach you by mail after a few days;
- a new libretto (described above).
STEP 5: EMAIL A SCANNED COPY TO THE RECTOR
- Be sure to apply for a Tessera Sanitaria as soon as you arrive in Italy (NEWCOMERS), and to renew it in the first days of January (OLDTIMERS and NEWCOMERS).
- The Rector needs to show a copy of your Tessera Sanitaria and latest libretto, in case you need to be brought to the hospital. In an emergency, there might be no time for you to find your copy and give it to him. For this reason, he needs to have a copy in his files.
USING THE TESSERA SANITARIA
- Regardless of the date you apply (even if, for example, December 15), the Tessera Sanitaria fee remains the same, and the expiration will always be at most on December 31. Actually, it would expire on your Permesso di Soggiorno’s expiration date; but when you have renewed your Soggiorno, show the Poste receipts along with all the other documents stated above, so the Tessera Sanitaria can be extended for at least another six months (but never beyond December 31).
- You need to renew every January. Note that sometimes the card expiry is up to five or more years from the present. This does not mean that your insurance is still valid. THE VALIDITY OF YOUR INSURANCE IS INDICATED BY THE DATE ON YOUR LATEST LIBRETTO, NOT BY THE DATE ON THE CARD. The card’s later date simply means that when you renew come January, you will not be given a new card, since your old card is still useful (even though your health care insurance benefits ended last December 31).
- The new libretto will be valid until December 31, or until the expiry of your Permesso di Soggiorno, whichever comes first. In the latter case, just return to the ASL office when you get your new Permesso di Soggiorno, so that they will give you a new libretto valid until December 31. (Be sure to bring your latest libretto, a copy of your Poste receipt to show that you had already paid previously, and a copy of your new Permesso di Soggiorno.)
- If you need to have a check up, go to the doctor you indicated. For simple complaints, this doctor will give you a prescription. Buy your medicines from any pharmacy, showing your Tessera Sanitaria and the doctor’s prescription, which entitles you to discounted prices.
- If your sickness requires some examinations (blood test, x-ray, ultrasound, etc.) or operation, your “medico di famiglia” will give you a prescription for the tests, and may refer you to a specialist doctor. He will inform you where you can set the appointment and have the tests done.
- If your situation is urgent, you will be scheduled for follow up within a few days. If your situation is not urgent, you might have to wait long for your schedule, as it means that there are others with graver illnesses than yours. In the latter case, you might have to wait weeks or even months. An alternative would be to go to a private clinic (but affiliated or “convenzionata” with the government system) to be checked earlier, at discounted prices.
- Emergency Room services are completely free in Italy, and do not require the Tessera Sanitaria. But the moment one is transferred to the wards for admission, one will be asked for the Tessera Sanitaria (even if the stay was initiated from the Emergency Room). If you do not have the Tessera Sanitaria, you might be considered a private patient and asked to pay for all the fees, which will run into thousands of Euros after just a few days. The Collegio Filippino will not be responsible for paying the bills.
- This medical insurance is valid for the whole European Union, so bring your Tessera Sanitaria if you need to go out of Italy. Switzerland is NOT a member of the European Union. Hence it is recommended that you also get an insurance when you book your plane tickets for trips outside the European Union.
- Check their website for updates. For the current fees, click on their link there, where it says, “contributo forfettario annuale”.
REGARDING THE “INDIRECT INSURANCE” THAT COLLEGIO FILIPPINO USED TO FACILITATE
- The “indirect insurance” that costs around €100.00 annually covers only admitted patients, that is, hospitalized at least overnight. Out-patient visits to doctors for a check-up, and medicines and laboratory tests prescribed in such cases, are not refunded.
- In this system, one has to first pay for all fees, and will be reimbursed months later, after the insurance agency studies all the pertinent medical files, and ONLY IF they determine that the contract conditions have been met. A visit to the doctor for a simple check-up could cost €100 to €200, blood tests and x-rays €250, ultrasound €400, etc.
- This type of insurance costing €100 does not cover annual check-ups, preexisting illnesses, dental and opthalmological services, and even some diseases considered as part of normal life and ageing, such as certain heart or kidney diseases, diabetes, etc.
- Given the above limitations and inconveniences, and since most medical needs of Collegio Priests are visits to the doctor for check-ups rather than hospitalization, the Collegio Filippino NO LONGER RECOMMENDS OR FACILITATES any “indirect insurance” for the residents.