Health insurance in Austria
If you are wondering whether it is worth securing a private health insurance plan in Austria, you have come to the right place. This guide is for those planning to visit or move to the country, providing an overview of its healthcare system, health insurance landscape, and useful travel tips. Continue reading to learn more or, alternatively, click below for a free and no-obligation quote.
Nestled in between Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein, the landlocked country of Austria is truly at the heart of Europe. The country’s population of nearly 9 million people are German-speaking and are divided into nine federated states. Vienna, one of the states, is the national capital and largest city. The country is a European Union (EU) member and uses the Euro currency. When you think of Austria, you probably think about picturesque Alps, historic castles, and the musical genius Mozart. Regarding healthcare matters, Austrians receive high quality universal healthcare.
Healthcare system in Austria
The healthcare system in Austria is considered one of the best in the world and access to services are of exemplary standards. It is a decentralized system, characterized by regionalized healthcare. There is a public healthcare sector, providing universal coverage that is funded primarily by social health insurance schemes. However, all Austrian citizens and legal residents can access the same level of healthcare irrespective of their individual contributions. There is also a private healthcare sector, providing better facilities and shorter waiting times at a premium cost for those who can afford it or those who have a private health insurance plan.
The public healthcare system is extensive and provides a range of healthcare services. In general, basic healthcare and dental treatment in public hospitals are covered; medications as well as visits to specialists are also included.
Both citizens and residents employed in Austria have to contribute to a mandatory social health insurance scheme, with the amount contributed being proportional to their income. Risk factors such as age and health status are not taken into account. Once you are employed, you will be enrolled in the system.
This covers not only the employed person, but also their family members. As a guide, approximately 25% of those insured in Austria are co-insured family members. But co-insured parties do have the option to opt into a voluntary insurance scheme to obtain their own insurance.
If you fall into one of the following groups, then you will be able to access healthcare even without being co-insured:
- People who care for children or have done so for at least four years
- People who nurse family members and beneficiaries of long-term care benefits
- Vulnerable people who are in need of social protection.
Those entitled to public healthcare will be issued with an e-card, which allows the Austrian Social Security system to monitor all health claims electronically. An individual is required to present the e-card when visiting the doctor.
Students and tourists from EU/EEA countries will be able to access public healthcare using your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Those from non-EU/EEA countries not employed in Austria will generally not be able to access public healthcare for free.
To see doctors or go to providers that accept patients in the public healthcare system, look for a sign that says ‘Kassenarzt’ or ‘Alle Kassen’. This is crucial as some doctors may only see private patients.
In order to see a specialist, you should first go to a GP in your area. They will refer you to a specialist if you need one. You can also make an appointment with a specialist directly, but note that some treatments and examinations may still require a referral.
If you are covered by the public healthcare system and receive treatment from a private doctor or private hospital, you may be entitled to a partial refund of payment from the public insurance provider.
For emergencies, you can dial the following numbers:
- 144 (ambulance)
- 141 (emergency medical service)
- 112 (European emergency number)
Although public healthcare in Austria is of high standards, some of the best physicians are only available in the private healthcare sector. Furthermore, there are longer waiting times associated with public healthcare. On the other hand, going private will also provide you with higher standards, more flexibility, and better amenities such as a private room.
Private health insurance
As private healthcare in Austria is very expensive, it pays to have a health insurance plan. There are many private insurers in Austria, but the leading providers are Allianz Care and Cigna Global. There are different plans catering to different groups of people.
As a rule of thumb, the older you are the more you pay. For instance, a plan for children below 18 may cost €30 a month, but the same plan for senior citizens about 65 can cost about €450 - 500. Other factors determining cost are gender and pre-existing conditions.
Austria travel tips
Austria is generally considered to be a safe country and there is a low rate of crime. However, tourists are often targets of petty crime in major cities and are advised to take all the necessary precautions. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings - especially when in crowded areas and during night time.
Many tourists usually head to Austria to take part in skiing, paragliding, and other extreme sports and activities. If you plan on taking part, then we would recommend using a company that is reputable and to always check the weather forecasts before going. For advice on weather and safety conditions, contact the Austrian Tourist Agency. You can also find out information about the risk of avalanches from the European Avalanche Warning Service.
Unfortunately, these activities are prone to result in accidents and fatalities, which is why we would encourage you to secure a suitable travel insurance plan that covers the specific activity you are planning to undertake. In case you need emergency services, you may also need to be medically evacuated to the nearest equipped hospital.
Please note that the information on this page is not fully comprehensive and is subject to change without prior warning. It is advisable to consult with the local Austrian embassy should you have any doubts before you depart on your journey.
Securing private health insurance for expats in Austria
If you do not have access to public healthcare in Austria or if you would like to access private healthcare, then you should look into securing a good health insurance plan. Austria’s private healthcare sector can be bank-breakingly expensive, so having a health insurance plan with high levels of coverage will be a lifesaver.
Pacific Prime can provide tailored expat health insurance plans to foreign nationals in Austria. In most cases, we are also able to offer Austria health insurance policies with no deductible or excesses. Furthermore, we can also help you obtain additional benefits, such as coverage for outpatient treatment, dental, vision, maternity, and many more.
Some of our plans are also globally portable and renewable for life. Whether you develop a pre-existing condition, make a lot of claims, or even decide to leave Austria for another country, you can rest assured that you will always have the coverage you need. Contact us today for a free quote and insurance consultation!