from Chiara Daina

Many do not know the different functions that the document that is issued to every citizen in order to take advantage of the assistance of the Health Service can perform

The health card the passepartout to benefit from the services of the National Health Service (NHS). With this document, which contains personal data and tax code, the citizen can go to the family doctor, book exams and specialist visits in any accredited public and private health facility, enjoy spa treatments. The right to health care, in reality, is determined by the possession of the tax code, without which it is not possible to register with the ASL. The code shown on the plastic card, which becomes a handy tool to communicate our identification code. The functions of this blue card, the size of an ATM, do not end there.

Talking receipt

First of all it must always be worn when you go to the pharmacy (or parapharmacy): the electronic reading of the barcode on the back, allows the issuing of the talking receipt (in which the purchased product and the recipient’s tax code are specified) essential to deduct 19% of the expenses incurred from the income tax. This applies to all medicines, with or without medical prescription (including homeopaths), even those bought online on channels authorized by the Ministry of Health. Parapharmaceuticals (food supplements, phytotherapeutic products, eye drops and ointments) and foods for special medical purposes are excluded from the deductibility. In general, everything we spend on health services is to be considered deductible: from laboratory to radiological tests, from specialist visits to surgical interventions, hospitalizations, nursing and rehabilitation assistance, oocyte and embryo cryopreservation services and medically assisted procreation procedures. You can take advantage of the tax benefit also for the purchase (or rental) of medical devices, for the sessions with the psychologist, for the veterinary service for pets, for the dietician, the dental hygienist, the physiotherapist, the speech therapist, the podiatrist, the optician, etc. (complete list on the portal of the Revenue Agency ).


Present the health card it is also used to certify your tax code. If we forget it, or lose it, no problem: it is sufficient to communicate the sequence of 16 alphanumeric characters that identify us, however registered on the platform. But the health card system ( gives the right to a series of further services. The system, to which both citizens and health professionals have access, makes available the list of patients who have been granted the right to exemption from the health ticket for income reasons (among the types: people under 6 and those over 65 with a gross family income of less than € 36,151.98, and the unemployed with an income of less than € 8,263.31 or up to 11,362.65 in the presence of a spouse and an additional € 516.46 for each dependent child). Therefore, by automatically reading the barcode on the card (or by manually entering the tax code), the Cup desk of the hospital, as well as the outpatient clinic in the area, can ascertain the total or partial exemption from the cost of the ticket for all specialist visits and tests (diagnostic and laboratory ). Anyone not yet included in the list can submit a self-certification the right to exemption from the local health authority, which will integrate the name into the system. At the moment, only the residents of Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Umbria, Molise, Veneto, Marche, Abruzzo, Calabria and the autonomous province of Bolzano can also submit the request online through the platform.

Electronic recipes

By connecting to the health card system, the doctor checks, in real time, during the electronic compilation of the prescription charged to the NHS (i.e. the dematerialized red prescription) the patient’s personal data, the right to income exemptions, the name of the drug to be dispensed and the specialist service. Even during the online compilation of the therapeutic plan, using the platform, it is possible to verify the correct identification of the patient and the doctor (who must be enabled), the exemptions for the pathology affected by the drugs that one intends to prescribe and, finally, the very existence of the drugs and the quantities already supplied . Likewise, Patients can consult the prescriptions and treatment plans issued in their name, as well as their electronic health record. All electronic prescriptions flow automatically into the system, which forwards them to the Ministry of Economy in order to detect public health expenditure, identify any waste and better manage resources.

Disease certificates

For all workers, public and private, the attending physician authorized by the health card system to produce the certificate of illness (and the communication of the beginning of hospitalization) and to transmit it to the patient and to INPS, which in turn, again through the portal, sends it to their respective employers. The latest news concerns the green anti-Covid certification (green pass), necessary to attend places open to the public and to travel safely within the European Union and the Schengen area. Through the system, Regions, general practitioners, pharmacies and health facilities can send citizens the results of the swabs (rapid and molecular antigenic), certificates of recovery after infection or vaccination. European Health Insurance Card: written on the back of the health card and guarantees Italian citizens health care in the rest of the EU, in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, according to the regulations in force in the individual countries. a clinic abroad for highly specialized treatments, for which prior authorization by your local health authority is essential.

Who can request it

All the people I’ve been to assigned a tax code and registered with the ASL (bringing with them a valid identification document and tax code) have the right to receive the health card. Enrollment in the health service allows you to to have a family doctor and to obtain assistance from public health and conventioned health. The tax code is given by the Municipality to the newborn when it is registered in the registry. But the generation of the code and the sending of the card (to the residential address) are the responsibility of the Revenue Agency. Foreign citizens who apply for a residence permit in Italy are also entitled to it. The health card is valid for six years (or until the residence permit expires). Near the deadline, the Revenue Agency will automatically send the new card. If it does not arrive, the citizen must report it to the Revenue Agency or to their local health authority, which prints an updated copy pending delivery of the new plastic card to the address of residence. If, on the other hand, you realize that the document contains errors, you must contact any office of the Tax Agency.

National service card

Since 2011, the health card equipped with a microchip that is used to use the device also as National service card, the authentication tool for accessing the services provided online by public administrations (as an alternative to other solutions, such as Spid, digital identity). For example, those of INPS, Inail, of the Regions and Asl, to download a report, choose or revoke your general practitioner, consult the electronic health record. But before using it in this version, you need to activate the card. Like? Following the instructions described on the IT system of the health card. First of all, the pin and puk codes must be requested at one of the authorized counters in your region (the list on the regional portals). And then a smart card reader must be installed on the personal computer.

September 10, 2021 (change September 10, 2021 | 21:15)

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