Austria spends about 10% of its GDP on public healthcare, which ranks 9th on the list of the best healthcare in the world. The key principle of the Austrian healthcare policy is to provide access to high-quality medical care irrespective of your passport or wallet. This ensures that almost 99% of the population is covered by the universal health insurance system.
Austria follows a two-tier healthcare model, where the majority of the citizens and expats are covered under public healthcare. However, it is also possible to insure yourself by buying additional private health insurance.
Public Health Insurance in Austria
Austria offers a high standard of healthcare and follows a compulsory health insurance policy under the social insurance model. It is mandatory for both Austrian citizens and expats to pay into this health insurance system, which is regulated by the social insurance law. Everyone insured under this system has a legal right to medical services.
Compulsory health insurance applies to:
- All those in paid employment
- Most self-employed persons
- Persons claiming unemployment benefits
- Dependents of all these groups
Everyone under the category of paid employment gets enrolled in the Austrian public health insurance system within seven days of their employment start date. An individual’s contribution to public health insurance depends on the type of employment and their salary, as there are different fees and payment scales. The employer is also required to contribute. Dependents such as children and spouses (or partners) of the insured person are covered under public health insurance.
Features of Public Healthcare Insurance
- Employed people contribute a part of their salaries to the public healthcare system.
- Offers hospital treatments, basic dental work, and various specialist appointments or procedures.
- Everyone that is covered by public health insurance receives an e-card.
- With an e-card, it is possible to receive medical services without advance payment.
- Coverage is given in four ways to individuals: precautionary, maternity, therapeutic aids, and illness.
- Precautionary coverage encompasses health checks, vaccinations, lifestyle advice, health at work, remedies and treatment, and recovery.
- Maternity coverage includes maternity allowance, parental leave benefits, childbirth, and child allowance.
- Therapeutic aids provide for occupational diseases, incapacity for work, work accidents, and treatment post-accidents at work.
- Illness comprises doctor visits, mental illness treatments, work-related ailment, and support with severe health problems.
What is an e-Card?
Austria is well-known for its advanced and generous healthcare service. To facilitate the medical process, Austria introduced the e-card. An e-card is a smart card that contains your personal medical information and electronic signature, reducing paperwork. The e-card acts as proof of your insurance coverage and should be with you at all times.
Advantages of the e-Card
The basic advantages of the e-card are:
- Facilitates access to medical treatment
- Provides more privacy
- Contacts social insurance administration out of office hours
- Insured and the dependents receive the card
- Reduces administrative paperwork
- Improves collaboration between healthcare professionals
Private Health Insurance in Austria
Private health insurance is also referred to as “Special Class” or “Comfort Class”. Many Austrians and expats opt for additional private health insurance even if they are covered under public healthcare insurance. Some even switch completely over to the private health insurance, as it offers benefits such as:
- Shorter wait times
- Access to exclusive physicians, doctors, and medical professionals that are not accessible through public healthcare
- Private rooms and bathrooms
- Flexible visiting hours
- Access to special clinics and medical practices
Austrian private health insurance either covers hospital costs or daily benefits, depending on the preferred insurance plan. Though costly, private health insurance gives exclusive access to private medical professionals and hospitals. In Austria, a private health insurance provider cannot terminate the contract or set additional restrictions.
Types of Private Health Insurance
1. Inpatient treatment
Hospital expenses are costly in Austria, and as an expat, you will be required to pay out-of-pocket if private health insurance is not in place.
Private health insurance ensures you have inpatient care facilities such as staying at the hospital’s special ward. These wards come with amenities like access to a private room with a single or double bed, TV, internet, private shower and bathroom, shorter waiting times for operations, and free choice of physician.
2. Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient treatment covers access to physicians that are not available through public health insurance. Access to such talented and experienced physicians in Austria is possible through private health insurance. The surgeries and prescriptions provided by private healthcare doctors are only covered through private health insurance packages.
Under private health insurance in Austria, you also receive coverage for medication, medical products, glasses, contact lenses, and more for no extra charge. It can also get you extra benefits such as dental care, free or subsidized gym memberships, travel insurance, and a variety of yearly check-ups and physicals.
Austria expat health insurance is an even better option for expats, because not only does it get you coverage for the expenses of private medical care in Austria, but it also covers you for extreme situations such as medical repatriation or evacuation.
The Cost of Private Healthcare Insurance in Austria
Private medical insurance is easily available, but the cost can be significantly higher than that of public insurance. The following factors contribute to the cost of private health insurance in Austria.
- Country of residence
- Area of coverage
- Product choice
- Payment frequency
It is difficult to give an accurate cost estimate with so many different factors to consider, but it usually ranges between $4,000 and $5,000.
Which Insurance Should You Choose as An Expat?
You will be automatically enrolled in the social insurance system, which offers its own set of benefits. But as an expatriate in Austria, expatriate health insurance offers many advantages and gives you access to private medical care facilities without having to worry about the massive costs. Private health insurance in Austria will get you special class treatment in public and private hospitals, shorter waiting times, free choice of physicians for outpatient treatment, and more.