Artists and others employed in the cultural sector, like any other Italian citizen, are just covered by the basic health insurance provided for by the National Health System.
The only exception to this rule, since fascist time, have been the performing artists, as well as those employed in theatres and in the audio-visual industry (radio, television, cinema, sound recording). They actually enjoyed more favourable social security coverage through ENPALS / Ente Nazionale Previdenza e Assistenza Lavoratori dello Spettacolo, created in 1934, which was able to cater for the often intermittent working situation of this special category of employed. More recently, though, a strong boost towards the harmonisation of all the country’s social frameworks has somehow weakened this category’s once privileged situation. So much so that Law n.214/2011 finally suppressed ENPALS, by merging it – for budget-saving reasons – with INPS (Istituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale), Italy’s general social security organisation. For the time being, though, ex ENPALS continues to be operated – albeit within INPS – with separate specific rules as far as the social security requirements of artists and others employed in the performing arts (and the related statistics) are concerned.
On the other hand, unlike performing artists, visual artists and writers have always enjoyed a purely “virtual” social insurance framework, as ENAPS (Ente Nazionale Artisti, Pittori e Scultori) – the ad hoc public institute – has traditionally been too underfinanced to provide any kind of social protection, and has limited its activity to the organisation of occasional prizes or artistic and literary events.