Italy to charge foreigners 2,000 euros a year for health service

Italy will charge foreign residents from outside the European Union 2,000 euros ($2,115.20) a year for access to its national health service, but the fee does not apply to asylum seekers and migrant workers, as critics of the measure had feared.

The charge, announced on Monday as part of the Italian government’s 2024 budget, was denounced as potentially unconstitutional by trade unionists, opposition politicians and doctors’ associations.

The Italian constitution guarantees free medical care for the poor.

In a statement, the Italian health ministry clarified that the government simply updated fees that already apply for specific categories of non-European Union citizens who want to subscribe to the national health service.

Diplomats and students are among these categories. Under the current system, they can voluntarily join the health service in return for a variable fee, ranging from 150 euros to almost 2,800 euros.

Foreign workers, job seekers, asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors will continue to have free access to healthcare like Italian nationals, the health ministry indicated.

Last month, Italy’s right-wing government sparked controversy by decreeing that migrants would have to pay almost 5,000 euros to avoid detention while their request for protection was being processed.


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